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And our national educational radio presents highlights from the 1968 convention of the National Association of educational broadcasters. The NE E.B. convention was held in Washington D.C. in November. This program was recorded by WMUR at the American University. On it you will hear McGeorge Bundy president of the Ford Foundation in a keynote address and titled The fifth freedom. Here now is the honorable McGeorge Bundy. The. Problem of coming from New York to way if you want the Ford Foundation to be more active outside New York City I can tell you there are a lot of people in New York City who agree with you right now. We are managing to have our troubles at home as well as around the country. I am. Right glad to
be here at this convention and. While I don't. Presume to offer a true keynote address the field is too large now too varied and has too many problems and too many opportunities for any single speaker to make or to pretend to make a general keynote speech. Still I do welcome the opportunity to come and talk about the distance that we've come. All of us who are concerned with noncommercial television in the last. Year and a half. And it's been 20 months since I last came to a meeting of the association and. It does seem to me that something of the distance that we have come in that time is indicated by the growing size of your meeting and by the proliferation of persons and
interests who think that a meeting is important and is an opportunity not only for the exchange of ideas but for the exchange of goods for fun. We have made important progress in these 20 months we have also suffered an important delay and this may be a good occasion for a candid description both of the distance we have come. And of the distance we have yet to go first. We do now have. The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and the Public Broadcasting Corporation. For this achieve because of public television and let us not forget public radio owes a standing debt to political leaders in both parties. But especially those senators Magnussen astore and Scott. The congressman's
Taggard Springer and Mayor Hahn. And above all to President Johnson himself. The Public Broadcasting Corporation is young and it is not over fad. Its initial appropriation of five million dollars is a tribute as much to the persuasiveness of Frank hay as to any other single course. It is not nearly enough. But it is a beginning. Two. We have a clear decision. By the FCC. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Public Broadcasting Corporation. To provide national interconnection for public television at greatly reduced rates. The initial agreement provides for a trial period of such interconnection for a period of two hours a night five nights a week in prime time. And all of us who care for public television must hope that there will be early
progress in enlarging this time around. But what is crucially important here is that the principle enacted in the Public Broadcasting Act is now to be placed in effect. The achievement of real low cost interconnection is naturally a matter of particular satisfaction to the Ford Foundation. Our own special concern with this problem has been evident for more than two years ever since we made our initial proposal for a people's dividend from domestic television satellites. The vital problem of the domestic satellite and its future is still pending. We remain hopeful that the FCC and other authorities will find a way to recognize the legitimate interests of all concerned and especially those of noncommercial broadcasting and to serve the public interest in this kind of new model or
a new framework of communication throughout our democracy. Here again in the progress we've made so far we are all in debt to the leaders in the administration and in the Congress who wrote the principle of low cost interconnection into the act of 67. Because of public television. Also ours are large debt here to the Federal Communications Commission which has been clear in its acceptance of the spirit as well as the letter. Of the congressional enactment. And the warmest appreciation is due in admission to the telecom company itself AT&T under the leadership of Mr. H Iran us. It's a particular pleasure for me to make this acknowledgment not only because we have had differences with the telephone company in the past but because I know that it would have been quite easy for them. With their very
wide and varied interests. And in light of the fact that this issue in purely commercial terms. Must seem small and difficult. It would have been quite easy for them to be much less alert and much less responsive. I think we can take it as a good omen for the future. At a major company such as AT&T has in this case begun to direct its attention and show its imagination in responding to the enactment of the Congress and the leadership of the FCC. So we do have an act. We do have at least a trial period of low cost interconnection. Third and this is a more general point I think we can say that the. Public recognition of the importance of public broadcasting has increased. This is a less tangible achievement and one which it is not too easy to
prove by facts and figures but to us at the Ford Foundation It does seem a fair and necessary judgment from all what we hear from all of those with whom we work on this subject. Our most immediate evidence of this growing recognition has come in our experience with our own new programming grants at two local stations. This five million dollar effort brought us application which greatly impressed the distinguished panel to which we gave the hard job of selection and recommendation. And our own staff reports this fall on actual performance. Are highly encouraging. It is from such evidence as this. And from such evidence as your own presence here and the broad and strong program to which you are committed in this week that we conclude that the cause is stronger. Than it
was in March of 1967. And that the forecast prior its long range success is that much more hope. So much for our some of our progress and I am well aware that in so summary a statement I am leaving out many individual achievements of individual stations. I am not attempting a general account of what has been done either in any tea or in the public broadcast laboratory Are there any tea I will come to some of those prospects a little later on perhaps. I am simply trying to indicate briefly what you can throw out and qualify in your own way. It is about where we are now as against where we work. And these are I think the favorable aspects. But against each of these three achievements we must know parallel delays and disappointments. The first and most important of these disappointments.
Is that so far there has been no decision no decision at all on the Ways and Means of long running federal financing for public broadcasting the necessary priorities of tax legislation in 1968 combined with the special stringencies of the last fiscal year made it quite literally impractical for political leaders to press forward with this subject. The reason for that is that this kind of long range financing. If it's to be anything like what the Carnegie Commission recommended we'll have to go through the same committees of Congress that were preoccupied in 1968 with the question of a tax increase. And while we now better than anyone else the importance of our subject we are I think sufficiently realistic to know all that in the enormous political process. Partly contests partly process which surrounded that question. There simply
was no prospect that an issue which is a difficult one. The ways and means of long range financing could be going through the same committees in the same season. But the fact is that there has been this delay. So we must all of us have a family in mind that the work of establishing a permanent financial base for the Public Broadcasting Corporation and softcore public broadcasting as an as a as a series of enterprises still remains to be done. The present appropriation for the Public Broadcasting Corporation is wanting any of what the Carnegie Commission recommended as a proper initial level. And for that matter there are. Parallel weaknesses elsewhere in the financial structure of noncommercial radio and television as a whole point of which you are all or nearly all of you or those of you concerned with the
actual operating of programs and stations more intimately and painfully familiar than we are. A second difficulty when we turn to interconnection. We must recognize that while a first step has been taken the steps that remain are longer. And maybe harder. Before very long. The present ten hours a week for a single interconnected system must be multiplied four or five times. So that it may come to begin to deserve the name that my colleague Fred Friendly has given to it the proud name of an electronic turnpike for us while. Moreover in the long run is us one must be matched by us two by regional and statewide systems with a life and value of there are the increased use of interconnection is initially going to require considerable give and take
and a learning process on the part of the stations and indeed of all I was involved with national and regional interconnection available on a five night a week basis as of January. Many public television stations will be making major adjustments in both programs schedules and operational procedures. Jumping from the Pony Express. Toward the jet age will not be easy. But given the growing conviction I think shared more and more throughout this field that national and regional networking with appropriate diversified control is vital to the further development of public broadcasting. I'm confident that those concerned you will be able to move with enthusiasm and some stamina through what will necessarily be a fairly difficult transition period.
I think also that this is not merely a matter of the immediate rearrangements imposed by a different method of circulating programs. It is a matter of what that different method permit us in varied ways which the older and somewhat slower methods did not permit. When there is a sudden break which requires or makes pertinence a piece of film that may be in the library it is a much quicker and easier matter now to put it where it can be used or it will be in 1969 than it has been in the past. And the service function of interconnection is important as well as the lie of an immediate function. In giving greater flexibility not only to the overall national and regional programming officials but also to those in the local stations and in the immediate area who have a special
need and who may find that that need is sufficiently shared so that the beginnings of the turnpike can be used to meet it. There are many other similar problem as some of which I'm sure you will be discussing in a much more not knowledgeable way than I can do so from here in a single statement. Some of these problems also rank among difficulties and that's why I make these comments under that head. Moreover even as we go forward with that terrestrial interconnection. The satellite remains in the future and as time passes the range of its potential the things it may be able to do as a system or set of systems. The range of those steadily why. The organization of domestic satellite services lies ahead just how far ahead depends upon processes of political decision which it would be dangerous to try to
predict. But we are reaching a stage of urgent need in this field and for many reasons of which elevation and broadcasting are only one though one of the most important. The decision that is made on this organization will be vital both for our communications policy and for public television. It is essential still as it has been throughout this discussion at least in our view that these services be organized in such a way as to provide to public television a level of interconnection. Which in the long run should compare to our immediate prospects as an eight lane divided Thruway compares to a footpath through the Far East. A third difficulty. And cause of concern. Is that even though it is true that we do a growing strain. It is also true that we are still much to wean.
Public broadcasting is much too weak for what it has to do. And as a field it is only beginning to put behind it the failings that come from weakness itself. We are only beginning to wane as high as we show. We have not yet even begun to develop the multiple centers of strength and effectiveness which a fully developed system of public broadcasting must have. We have only one national programming center. We have only a handful of stations anywhere with major independent programming strength. There are only a handful of newspapers and only a very few broadcasting critics who focus attention on this work and we need more hours. Sometimes I feel in New York as if the entire enterprise of television and especially of public television consisted of a dialogue between
producers with small audiences and Mr. Jack Gould. And if I was to Google is we are fortunate that the man with whom we have this dialogue is Mr. Gore. It is not perfect that there should be or seem to be only one man in the commenting already. And of course anyone who makes this kind of comment sitting where I do has to know that for fun the entire enterprise will depend too much on a single foundation. Everyone who is concerned with public television all of. The station's programming Sander's reporters and critics and grant makers to every one of us needs the stimulus of greater competition. And those of us who've been playing the role of large crowds in a small pond. Must be careful not to get big heads are bad habits. It should be the business of all of us
to seek to stimulate the challenging forces of competition in every phase of public broadcasting. We must welcome those who come to share in strength. The tasks which some of us have tended to monopolize in weakness. This advice of course comes naturally to a grant making agency. What could be more obviously good from our point of view than for public broadcasting to become the object of effective competition in granite. Let me turn for a moment to a special problem one on which there is still a great deal to be done and one on which I speak with a certain personal diffidence because I have not been as deeply engaged in it myself all of the foundation as such has been concerned with a long time let me turn to instructional television. And not as it were my own because it is not entirely my own. In fact it's not mine a tall. Let me offer
National Association of Educational Broadcasters convention highlights
McGeorge Bundy
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
American University (Washington, D.C.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Highlights of the November 1968 convention of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. This program features a keynote address by McGeorge Bundy, president, Ford Foundation. "The Fifth Freedom."
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Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: American University (Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Bundy, McGeorge
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-Sp.6-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:20:03
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Chicago: “National Association of Educational Broadcasters convention highlights; McGeorge Bundy,” 1968-12-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021,
MLA: “National Association of Educational Broadcasters convention highlights; McGeorge Bundy.” 1968-12-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <>.
APA: National Association of Educational Broadcasters convention highlights; McGeorge Bundy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from