thumbnail of NER Washington forum; Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
On the house interstate and foreign commerce committee hearings on the proposed Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 this is a special presentation of the NE our Washington forum. A weekly program concerned with the significant issues before us as a nation. This week a montage of exclusive interviews gathered from witnesses and Congressman participating in the recent House hearings on the Public Broadcasting Act. You will hear comments from the secretary of Health Education and Welfare John Gardner U.S. representative Claude Pepper and author of The Bill Thomas holding chairman of the National citizen's committee for public television. Roscoe Hyde chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. U.S. Representative William Springer a member of the House Commerce Committee. Dr. Frank Stanton president of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The other comment will come from the Honorable Calvin L. Rampton governor of the state of Utah.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE talk about McDonald a member of the House Commerce Committee Mike George Bundy president of the Ford Foundation Fred Friendly former president of CBS News is now associated with Columbia University and the Ford Foundation and general Sandler executive director of national educational radio. This program was produced by and for a national educational radio through the facility is of W am you FM American University Radio in Washington DC. I many are a public affairs director Bill Greenwood. The major weapon is to appear before the House Committee on behalf of the administration or secretary of Health Education and Welfare John W. Gardner national educational radio asked the secretary to comment on aspects of his appearance before the House Commerce Committee. Specifically we ask him about dissension over the title of the bill and if he would favor
a change from the public television Act of 1967 to the Public Broadcasting Act of a Senate made the very same sensible point that the public television as a title ignored the fact that the Act contains provisions for radio. So they changed it to the Public Broadcasting Act. And that seems to me. Thoroughly reasonable change. So any reason this was overlooked when the bill was drafted. I think the reason was that this grew out of a rigid no Carnegie Commission on television. And everyone was thinking so much about that they just just didn't make the change. Secretary Gardner There was some concern expressed today at the lack of cost expenditure projections. Can you explain the reasons that these were not submitted in detail. Yes. First.
They act provides for the creation of a public corporation. And when the corporation is created my department will no longer have any responsibility for what happens the corporation will make its own projections decide how much it wants to spend. And when not in a position to know how much a corporation that is not yet in existence and wants to will want to spend. So we didn't make the projections. I can say that it would have helped the committee if we had made some estimates that would guide their thinking. How much money are you talking about in expenditure of this corporation. You must have some general idea. Well a first year will run in the neighborhood of 20 20 million dollars. We certainly hope that it will increase in later years. But how much it will increase depends upon the method of financing and will be the decision of the corporation itself. You mention the need to enter light the public corporation from government how would this be done Mr.
Secretary. Well this would be done by providing the corporation with its own board of directors and the capacity to act independently. Also it may be that it will have an independent means of financing if the Congress chooses to. Provide an excise tax for example on television sets. This this would enable the corporation to proceed without yearly returns to the Appropriation Committees for action. Would you favor an excise tax. I have no view on that at the moment we're studying a US representative and former US senator Claude Pepper is author of a companion bill identical to that drafted by the chairman of this committee Congressman pepper yesterday it was mentioned the possibility of changing the title of the legislation to the Public Broadcasting Act. How would you feel that I have no objection to that. I think it ought to be clearly understood that there's been no program
to supplement the private television and radio facilities that are already actually been going to country but in a way which will permit greater service to the public. And they provide a kind of educational and cultural and artistic program. We've taken every safeguard to see to it that they public television corporation which failed provide it will be set up is not in any way. To be the end to a mentality of partisanship our politics. We are determined to keep the program free of governmental interference data an aid program not a control program but it will make the riches of our culture and our civilization more abundantly available not only in the classroom but in the homes of the people of our country. So in other words the actual wording is less important than the implications of the bill. I think However truth be made clear that this program that we are trying to get
established prior to both television and radio. So it's really a Broadcasting Act. Rather than a television o radio way. So then you would go along with this concept of I doubt I would graft on Thomas harming as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City former director of parks in that town and he's now chairman of the National Citizens Committee for Public Television. This is a new organization isn't it. Well it was started only seven weeks ago. And in a rather brief time we've assembled 47 members and the initial Committee. People ranging in points of view and. Thrust in and figure from Kingman Brewster the president of Yale University to Leonard Bernstein to people such as General James Gavin a wide variety of people across the United States who have. A real feeling that public television is something that will benefit the public a great deal.
Well of course you say now that you were not in existence during the Senate hearings which what explains your absence they are what prompted the formation of this committee. What prompted it was that people began to. Call each other up and say Now listen this thing isn't important. It's important in prose proposal and a lot of people around the United States don't know anything about it. And so we got together into the committee to try to educate people around the United States to people. To to get them to begin to understand what what if this is what's in it for them what can they get out of it will their lives be illuminated will they have some see some marks of creativity and imagination by this. And so all of a sudden it formed together and dedicated people such as Deborah Josephs and Newton Minow Ralph Ellison and myself began to call up people and they said yes let's join this thing. So we have it and we very happily have funding from a number of foundations which is always nice. And we're going to get the word out but we're going to try to do is to educate number one people.
Number two support local stations and local programming. And third we want to become the establishment of a rallying place where people who have questions about public television can come and get answers and if they want support we'll give it to them. That's what we're supposed to do. Salman rasa Lige triad of the Federal Communications Commission your remarks today before the House committee. Don't mainly with the Senate bill. This one is. Similar bill actually an identical bill is rendered to sit in the Senate and House. Now the commission presented views before the Senate committee and I want some refinements of the bill in my opinion in light of this discussion. We thought it would be helpful to follow through on the same text. What were some of the refinements you mentioned which the Commission feels strongly about principle change that was made in response to my suggestions which to clarify the provision for a study
commission suggested that. Congress should give some direction to the scope of the study and the emphasis now is on how Would federal funds be used for educational purposes rather than should we do it right at the point of my my actually pretty well convinced of the wisdom of using federal funds. Emily and point is a study should be made as to what would be the most intelligent and right way to do it. Mr. Chairman there was some concern on the part of some of the congressmen over the use of the word Public Broadcasting you chose another term relating on history there before they come at a time I used my count when they wanted to commission has used in its reservations channel noncommercial educational broadcasting at the NABJ convention I think just in that name isn't too important a minor comment sitting right Catherine. I didn't see that you know that term again and ate into didn't go over very big
in Chicago. Congressman Watkins suggested waiting until the costs of the war in Vietnam to manage how is your reaction to delaying this appropriation. I can stand by the answer I gave to the congressman I do not appoint to be an X-Man government fiscal policy. I did take note of the fact that we've had these reservations channels for 17 years now to begin in mice made some time and I think we ought to start it. He used an upright then you say the Federal Communications Commission is on record as seeking approval now. We are talking Grisman Williams Springer of Illinois. You're a member of the house interstate and foreign commerce committee and during the testimony you raise several questions concerning a long range financing of educational broadcasting would you explain this area. Well I think the important thing is to determine at this time how it is going to be financed. It seems to be the thought of the president
ministration that they would get this bill through and then they would talk about financing later on. It seems to me the way in which it's going to be financed will have a great deal to do with how the program will function in the future. And it's my feeling that we ought to determine financing at this time when the program is being put into effect. Now you mentioned the possibility of limiting the appropriation for the total plan to a one year period until the administration comes up with more long range figures What's your thinking on that at this time. A Well it seems to me that it would be well in view of the fact that the. Administration doesn't have any figures. The next two years that would be well this year to go ahead and give them the appropriation which they've requested and have them come back next year and will then put into effect the three year program and of course the way this bill is written the money would be allocated for this year but there would be an authorization for additional appropriations do you mean then that these future authorization should be held in
abeyance. I think the future authorization should be held in a Benz until such time as the administration come forward with the exact figures on their proposal. It's almost impossible for us to give them authority for appropriations until that is laid out rather clearly for us exactly how they intend to spend the money and we don't have those at the present time now and Secretary Gardner That was before our committee on Monday. He simply did not have those figures and I don't know how a committee can act until the figures are actually supplied to us. Can we assume then however that this objection this this. Concern on your part would not stymie the first year operation. Oh I think there's no question the go ahead and approve the bill. There are probably some modifications I can't tell you what they'll be at this time there are probably some modifications there were in the Senate they change the appointment of the board over there. It might be that we would change that over here to make it a bipartisan board in some respects. One of the new parts of this bill is the inclusion of radio for the first time do you see any
problems in passage of that aspect. I do not I think that radio ought to be in this radio is older than TV and fact that the University of Illinois in educational TV we had radio I would guess some 10 to 15 years before we had TV. Congressman Springer you have on several occasions now mentioned the concern that the board of directors of the proposed Public Broadcast Corporation be appointed on a bipartisan basis. Would you elaborate your reasons for that questioning. I think it's simply that you're going to establish the philosophy of this entire set up at this time. It is possible for the president the president and of the president Bill to appoint all 15 of them. Under the Senate provision he could appoint nine and the remaining nine would appoint the remaining six making a total of 15. This in essence means that a majority of the nine or five and five could appoint the remaining six. I think that's wrong in essence I think the FCC the Federal
Communications Commission has worked well there where you had four of the commissioners and the majority party and three have been a minority party. I think this gets us away from us babbling any particular philosophy and I think the philosophy that you're going to adopt. Is going to be the all important thing that is the issues you're going to discuss and how you're going to discuss the issues. I think the board will establish that philosophy and if you have it in the nature of a bipartisan as it is on the Federal Communications Commission you'll be sure that you do not establish the philosophy of one party. Dr. Frank Staten is president of CBS you mentioned before the committee three basic factors which you felt needed with respect to public broadcasting these were Independents stable financing and programming. Alyssum Would you elaborate on those replies on the independents matter I simply wanted to be sure that the people who gave the money couldn't step in the last minute or at any time and start changing the
program structure. It's great when they happen is that. But with public bronzer someone on me who is on the committee doesn't like something and he has an opportunity to. Step in and try to change the programming concept and I think in the creative world of television. You have to be free and independent of that kind of interference. This doesn't mean that there wouldn't be periodic reviews and the public operation often and the direction that it shows without any review ultimately. But I would have as much insulation as I could between the day to day operation and that and the funding organization. With respect to funding you mention the support for an excise tax concept. Do you feel this has possibility with the government's tightening of financing. This is going to be a difficult problem any kind of funding by the government at this time with what's going on in the world will be difficult because of the demands made by other people properly for support. But as
if there's any kind of funding I think the most desirable funding would be the excise tax route. Doctor Stanton you slanted your remarks toward programming How is your reaction to the inclusion of radio in this legislation. I think it's very important and I desire do you foresee a strong educational broadcasting system as a threat to commercial organizations such as CBS. Not at all. Under questioning by the committee you are wise to refuse or to donate CBS programs for educational broadcasting would you explain that reasoning. Well we're in the business of producing programs for our own persona days and if we gave them to our competition a we would not be increasing the fund of programming by doing that and B we'd be defeating our own object in us. Do you foresee the growth of noncommercial broadcasting as a means for commercial stations to reduce their public service programming. Not in the least. I've said from the time that this discussion began
if public television could be created overnight it wouldn't change our sense of obligation to the people to give a balanced program schedule one where. In time I think we'll be doing more public service broadcasting than we're doing now and this will not be changed with the introduction of public television. Governor COWAN Now Rampton of the state of Utah you were questioned by the House Committee on your opinions concerning editorializing by noncommercial stations what are those views. I fail that editorializing. Is a necessary function. Public television I think that it should not be the major function the major function is instructional but also one of the functions is to encourage dialogue and debate. And so long as editorializing is fair and gives an adequate opportunity for the present ation of all sides on any particular issue I think it's desirable
what you're saying then going to Rampton is that as long as both sides are presented it's alright with you. That is right and just so long as it doesn't monopolize the entire time of the station to the exclusion of the conventional educational or instructional Tavy then the emphasis should not be placed on commentary or analytical programming in your opinion. No I don't think that's where the emphasis should be placed I think that is one of the functions of educational TV but only one of the functions Congressman taught at McDonnell of Massachusetts you raise several questions during the hearing one particularly dealing with the somatic term public would you explain that. Well yes. The point that I was trying to make was that. I thought that it was a mistake to name this new television network a public TV in as much as as we all know. Television in general is public good. It's franchised to licensees
by the government and I thought that perhaps this distinction would lead people who are already in private so called commercial TV astray and let them feel that since we now have a public network that there are. Duties to the public as such would be lessened. You would then favor some term like educational or noncommercial. I would think that that would would suit the description. What I have in visited mind much more directly McGeorge Bundy as president of the Ford Foundation you were questioned at length concerning a bipartisan board of directors for the proposed public TV corporation. What was your feeling on that. Well my feeling is that. It's probably better to proceed with a nonpartizan board of directors
rather than to have the question of party affiliation. I direct element in the qualifications for a nomination. How do you envision the reaching of impartial decisions particularly in news and public affairs programming. Now there are several points to be made there one is that obviously the members of a Public Broadcasting Corporation should themselves be citizens of distinction and with a sense of fairness and balance in the board as a whole. The second point to be made is that they will not themselves be running the broadcast but rather making grants to programming agencies and to stations which will produce them. They will presumably be guided by their confidence in the editorial quality and in the Journal of integrity of those doing this kind of work. And then finally of course educational broadcasting just as all commercial broadcasting is subject to the rules of balance which I stated in the laws and for which there was enforcement the
FCC is responsible Fred Friendly former president of CBS News now associated with Columbia University and the Ford Foundation. You proposed the acquisition of a VHF educational television station in Washington D.C. Would you explain why. Well I think to have public television become a major force in this country and not have a VHF station here would be like getting an airline to come here without having a major airfield. A lot of people have UHF to salivate a lot of people down Washington with ex-Congressman and it's. Leadership come in it is going to have to have a VHF station there are seven stations in the Baltimore Washington area VHF now seems to me that one of those stations might be made into a public television station. Have you given any thought to who would pay for such a station. Well I know who paid for it in the beginning it was the people's And it was assigned not in perpetuity. There are seven license holders it seems to me that a committee appointed by the
FCC ought to be able to determine which one of those is. Less needed to continue and some proper way of reimbursing them for what they've invested in real estate and real assets I don't think it will be found. We do it in other fields of endeavor. It ought to be possible in television I might have quite a salutary effect on all television if one station were taken away from commercial television because of performance and given to public television I think it might make every station in the country look to their license a little more seriously. Do you think this might be a good precedent for the major cities throughout the nation. I don't know how many major cities do have them. New York City is I to my testimony has Channel 13 which was ransomed with an enormous amount of money. Some other cities have VHF so I think those that don't. Los Angeles among them here in Los Angeles and Washington are two of the great centers for public television. Neither have a
VHF station. I think Los Angeles and Washington both thought I'd find a way to get a VHF station as I should all major cities. Mr friendly you made no mention of radio during your testimony and if they vary and I did in my statement and I said manage very much of the opinion that there ought to be public radio and that it's implementable even quicker than public television then we all ought to work more on that. Congressman Bill Springer was concerned over what he called potential editorializing by educational stations. How do you feel. Well the FCC encourages stations data to our allies. I think you have to be careful to be fair. I think it is possible to be fair. I think you have to separate between reporting news analysis and editorializing. I don't think that's a big problem I think the big problem is to be fair. If a station is going to editorialize I think it ought to do so not two days before an election when there's no time for the other side to be heard. Think as one of the congressmen said today that sometimes a
congressman is answering an editorial time can do him self a lot more good than the editorial that his opponent. But I think that's between the station and the FCC say the FCC encourages stations to editorialize. I have never played a big part in editorializing I've never done an editorial in all my years in broadcasting. But I think it is a matter between the licensee and the station whether it's commercial or public television. General Sandler is executive director of the national educational radio not right Mr. Sandler there's been considerable comment during these hearings concerning the long range plan Mansingh of the US. I don't think there's any easy magic answer to it right now. What you're saying in effect Dan is that this requires more study than has now been given it. Yes and there are a lot of very sound reasons for this. Essentially the whole idea of setting up a second service and noncommercial broadcasting service have real impact in this country is a new thing for the United States. It has never
been done in this kind of level before in other words the educational television stations. Have come into being. I have come into being without an effect having a cooperation for Public Broadcasting and able to support income bamming operation of the interconnection terms and so on. So that in effect we are starting almost from scratch to build up what could develop into a major national asset. I'm going to do you feel when a connection is to radio we've heard repeatedly the importance to television. I think it's very important for a number of interesting reasons one very important one is that radio is still today in many ways the most instantaneous. And far reaching of only mass media. As you know for a fraction of the cost of what can be done in Television just one man wandering a continent with a tape recorder could send back wonders. And if you had the miracle of what I say the communication satellite
available to him on the European continent the Asiatic continent and so on he could share this. Seconds later if we were so interconnected in this country to take advantage of that kind of system. For literally a fraction of what it would cost to do in television terms be it commercial or noncommercial television. Where the word is important where the concept is important the idea where you're speaking directly to a man's mind. The radio can. And must continue to play a very important part in everyone's life. That was Gerald Sandler executive director of national educational radio and one of our guests this week on the NBER of Washington forum. This week's program has featured a special montage of exclusive interviews with witnesses and congressman who protests are painted in the recent House interstate and foreign commerce committee hearings on the proposed Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Others who appeared on this program included Fred
Friendly former president of CBS News now associated with Columbia University and the Ford Foundation. Mike George Bundy president of the Ford Foundation U.S. representative Tobit McDonald a member of the House Commerce Committee the honorable Caliban L. Rampton governor of the state of Utah Dr. Frank Stanton president of the Columbia Broadcasting System. Congressman William Springer a member of the House Commerce Committee or oscillates Hyde chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Thomas holding director of the National citizen's committee for public television. Congressman Claude Pepper an author of one version of the bill under consideration and Secretary John W. Gardner of the Department of Health Education and Welfare. This program was produced by and for national educational radio through the facilities of W E M U FM
American University Radio in Washington D.C.. I'm Bill Greenwood inviting you to listen again next week for another edition of the ne r of Washington forum. Our weekly program concerned with the significant issues before us as a nation. This is the national educational radio network.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
NER Washington forum
Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-057cw62s).
Episode Description
House hearings on Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Includes: United States Representative Claude Pepper (D-Florida); Thomas Hoving; Frank Stanton; McGeorge Bundy; Fred Friendly; and Jerrold Sandler.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Greenwood, Bill
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Bundy, McGeorge
Speaker: Hoving, Thomas, 1931-2009
Speaker: Friendly, Fred W.
Speaker: Pepper, Claude, 1900-1989
Speaker: Sandler, Jerrold
Speaker: Stanton, Frank, 1908-2006
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-19 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:33
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Public Broadcasting Act of 1967,” 1967-07-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “NER Washington forum; Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.” 1967-07-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: NER Washington forum; Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from