For all of us OTA'ers, I'm surprised the PBS section isn't more popular

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#1
Wonder why? :p

Actually, I haven't been watching that much PBS lately, which is pretty typical from October to January. Not sure why really either.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#2
For us, it is that PBS is simply not presenting the kind of programming that we care to watch, anymore.

1) This Old House has been marginalized* (by being moved out of prime time, here in Boston) and although that shouldn't matter to me as a DVR user, for some reason we just watch TOH in the margins these days.

2) There hasn't been a follow up to Manor House, Frontier House, Colonial House, etc., since Texas Ranch House in 2006.

3) HBO and Showtime have beaten the pants off PBS with regard to period drama, with Rome, The Tudors, Deadwood, etc. (And don't forget AMC's Mad Men.) I'm looking forward to HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire. PBS, by comparison, won't even let us know what's coming up. *

3a) PBS has also been trumped by other networks, with regard to many other genres of programming for which PBS had previously been the best source: In a way, PBS has been castrated by the ascendancy (as sources of original programming) of Food Network for Cooking programs, Discovery for science and nature programming, etc. Even the History Channel, and the Travel Channel effectively serve needs that were once almost exclusively served by PBS. **

3b) Heck, PBS affiliates (not the network, necessarily) used to be the most consistent source of science fiction program, in the form of Doctor Who serials from the UK. However, even there they've been effectively replaced by Syfy and BBC America, and more generally, by the ascendancy of the provision of genre programming on major networks.

4) While we do watch History Detectives quite religiously, we've come to expect that about a third of the episodes now contain "encore presentations" -- that makes the series look prematurely old and tired, AFIAC.

_________________
* The lack of communication and self-promotion by PBS is shocking. It is as if they expect people to watch PBS regardless of what they present, and so don't feel any need to outline their future plans, like all the other networks do, since, in what it seems to me is their view, what they're going to present doesn't matter and shouldn't influence whether we're going to watch them or not. As a matter of fact, if you go to PBS' website to find out what are the series they broadcast, they highlight only American Experience, American Masters, Antique Roadshow, Bill Moyers Journal, Frontline, Masterpiece, Nature, NewsHour, and Nova.

** One exception is fine arts... not that there haven't been assaults on PBS' stock there, i.e., Bravo. I suppose it is an open question as to whether Bravo's failure there was due to an inherent lack of profitability in offering such programming, or from the fact that PBS was doing such a good job, and was free.
 
Last edited:

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#4
* The lack of communication and self-promotion by PBS is shocking. It is as if they expect people to watch PBS regardless of what they present, and so don't feel any need to outline their future plans, like all the other networks do, since, in what it seems to me is their view, what they're going to present doesn't matter and shouldn't influence whether we're going to watch them or not. As a matter of fact, if you go to PBS' website to find out what are the series they broadcast, they highlight only American Experience, American Masters, Antique Roadshow, Bill Moyers Journal, Frontline, Masterpiece, Nature, NewsHour, and Nova.
Agreed. Speaking in terms of their website, it has improved over the years as far as representing their programming. I remember a 5-10 years back, you were lucky to get a paragraph summary on each show. Now you can watch a few episodes online, etc.


PBS is government run. Nuff said.
Is there a single President or chairperson responsible for the overall PBS organization? I know they're Government run, but I wonder if each station is solely responsible for their programming or if they have to adhere to a National schedule. As Bicker stated, they've had the attitude of it doesn't matter what they show because it shouldn't influence you anyway.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
Oh, do you ask good questions!
Is there a single President or chairperson responsible for the overall PBS organization?
Go to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Web site. CPB founded PBS as a programming distributor.
... I wonder if each station is solely responsible for their programming or if they have to adhere to a National schedule.
Yes, and no. This gets into the sharp differences in how PBS operates versus the commercial networks. CPB is a government-sponsored enterprise which receives funding from Congress, corporations and foundations, and which operates (as) independently (as it can). PBS' affiliates are legally independent, even though some of their funding comes through CPB. Most are operated through local foundations, many of which were launched years before PBS was established.

Here's where the big differences start: Unlike commercial-network stations, PBS affiliates distribute programming to other stations in the network. Some programs are original productions; others are produced elsewhere and licensed by the affiliate for distribution through PBS. Bicker's PBS affiliate, WGBH-Boston, is far and away the best known of the breed since it originates or distributes much of PBS' "flagship" programming -- Nova, Frontline, This Old House and Masterpiece Theatre, to name very few of them. Affiliates airing these programs must pay the originator/distributor for the privilege. This is the exact reverse of the broadcast networks, which pay affiliates to carry the prime-time schedule, soaps, specials, movies, some sporting events and the like.*

(The sharing of news stories and video clips between commercial-network affiliates is the conspicuous exception. When a major story occurs in one station's backyard, they share it with network "siblings" in a kind of mutual-aid agreement. The Fort Hood story is a good example: Witness how much coverage is being generated by affiliates in Austin, DFW and Houston.)

All of which helps explain why PBS has had little luck imposing a national schedule for many, many years: It doesn't pay affiliates for doing so. As the great majority of local affiliates are chronically cash-strapped, their interest is in scheduling programs so as to maximize donations rather than keeping the brass at CPB/PBS in Washington happy. Uniformity does occur -- first-run Nova and Frontline episodes are on-air on Tuesday nights in most places, for example -- but things get spottier for lesser-known programs.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

* The commercial networks would just LOVE to adopt the PBS paradigm, of course. They've made noises about imposing programming fees a number of times -- noises that fell suddenly silent when the affiliates responded "See you in court!" in unison. The networks have been cutting carriage payments for some time, which helps explain why infomercials seem to be cropping up at progressively earlier times in the affiliates' schedules.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#6
I watch a good deal of PBS. Even more of my TV time now I am working. Why?

For years I watched cable news until I got sick of the partisan reporting (both sides).

I know in this crowd me saying I don't think PBS is liberal by other networks standards will be ignored, disputed, or just be labeled left when I am far from that position.

I find the reporting to be more of an investigative nature than anything left on TV. I particularly like some of their "odd ball" programming where I tend to learn things I might never bother to read while doing other things in the living room.

The shows I seldom miss are Bill Moyer's Journal, Frontline, Nova, Charlie Rose, World Focus. I used to watch News Hour but I think they have gotten less informative and almost too verbose.

So there you go. Label me as you wish, but many already presume they know most of my positions. Hence no I don't talk much about PBS except their fine arts shows on here.
 
#7
Don M: All (commercial and public -NCE non-commercial educational - TV stations are licensed to local communities. So all public stations are licensed to local communities. 136 stations are licensed to nonprofit community organizations [501(c)(3), 86 to universities, 8 to local government entities and 126 to state governments who establish independent commissions of either appointed or elected members of the public. The state licensees tend to be in rural states with smaller populations.
By law, each stations board is responsible for what the station broadcasts. Each license is free to broadcast whatever it wants as long as it is not advertising as defined by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
PBS(the S for service) was created by the stations as a member organization to service the stations with whatever they decided they needed and wanted to collectively fund. The CPB is a private nonprofit corporation established by the federal government by an Act of Congress but is free to operate independently as the dispenser of federal dollars within a formula that requires it to give the overwhelming majority of the funds to local stations for community service. Most of the rest of the funds are divided into program funds for TV and radio programming. What's left is spent for interconnection satellites, copyright fees and research with no more than 4% allowed for administration of the CPB. NPR is an equivalent of PBS, created by the public radio stations as a member organization to produce programming and facilitate services that the stations (its members) want. Both PBS and NPR have boards dominated by the stations. The CPB board has two station managers of the nine members.
So it is not the puirpose of stations to cater to the directions of PBS, NPR or CPB but to do what they believe is best for each community of license.
Yes it is extremenly independent and that has its drawbacks but it also has its strengths and is the reason that it has survived so many attacks from political hacks and other media blowhards who have political agendas to push. Local station boards are very principled about how they treat their public trusts and very protective of the public resource.
Funding comes primarily from private sources with the feds providing about 13%, states about 20%, and the rest from corporations, foundations with the largest single provider (about 24%) being the individuals in the public itself.
Because most stations have multiple services, most of its programming is educational for schools and professional teacher development or instructive for self-help. Children's programming makes up a very large part of what each station provides. The programming spoken to in most of these kind of public fora make up the smallest part in hours of what stations actually broadcast or otherwise distribute via direct satellite, Internet, microwave, broadband or audio. For instance, South Carolina ETV has 67 licenses to provide all of its services. Iowa PTV has a statewide broadband network in addition to its 6 full broadcast channels. Nebraska ETV has 8 satellite channels in addition to its transmitting facilities.
In sum, public broadcating in the USA is not an easily understood institution but actually a fairly complex structure serving many purposes for many specific audiences. Most people are surprised to know even half of what they do. Most discussion centers around a few programs broadcast on their main channel. Whether they are a force for good or should be funded in any way is for many publics to decide, and they do.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#8
Hi all,
I build my antennas and receive OTA service from two PBS channels, KCTS 9.1 (9.2) owned by The University of Washington (Seattle) and KBTC 28 (27.1-27.2) owned by Bates Technical College (Tacoma) but at the first of the month they dropped two additional subchannels, Create and Docs. One of the subchannels ran newscasts from Networks around the world around the clock. Gone now. Rats. Perhaps its a matter of funding.
Jim In Seattle
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#9
Hi all,
I build my antennas and receive OTA service from two PBS channels, KCTS 9.1 (9.2) owned by The University of Washington (Seattle) and KBTC 28 (27.1-27.2) owned by Bates Technical College (Tacoma) but at the first of the month they dropped two additional subchannels, Create and Docs. One of the subchannels ran newscasts from Networks around the world around the clock. Gone now. Rats. Perhaps its a matter of funding.
Jim In Seattle
Hey Jim, yes I believe funding is a huge issue these days. I've seen a few articles talking about layoffs and lack of funds for a bunch of PBS stations. Kind of sad really. I'd hate to lose Create, does The University of Washington at least have a Create sub channel?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
Hey Jim, yes I believe funding is a huge issue these days. I've seen a few articles talking about layoffs and lack of funds for a bunch of PBS stations. Kind of sad really. I'd hate to lose Create, does The University of Washington at least have a Create sub channel?
----------------------------------------------------------
Aaron,
KCTS 9 (21.7kw) was one of the harder channels for me to capture and by the time I built a Yagi for them, the weather chased me off the roof and I didn't get guy wires on the mast. My antenna is safe in my basement (unfortunately) so I have no idea what they run on their sub-channels. Rats!

Jim

PS with wind forcasted to be gusting in the 50-60 mph range tonight, I had to lower two antennas, so I lost my 12 (35) and 5 (48) for the time being: double RATS! :mad:

PPS Thursday update: as so often, Stormbotch-7 on the eyeball network got it wrong. Almost no wind and just the usual rain last night ...
 
Last edited:

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#11
My problem with PBS is that every time I want to watch something, it turns out to be a pledge break show. I don't like having to watch 15 minutes or whatever of pledge for every 15 minutes of show. It's horrible. PLus, they never show those shows during non pledge drives. I feel it's hypocritical. If you want to watch shows like this, pledge ... except the only time you see those shows is during the breaks. Excuse me? That's why I've never been on the PBS band wagon in my entire life.
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#12
My problem with PBS is that every time I want to watch something, it turns out to be a pledge break show. I don't like having to watch 15 minutes or whatever of pledge for every 15 minutes of show. It's horrible. PLus, they never show those shows during non pledge drives. I feel it's hypocritical. If you want to watch shows like this, pledge ... except the only time you see those shows is during the breaks. Excuse me? That's why I've never been on the PBS band wagon in my entire life.
If you think about it, you're being pledged every 5-8 minutes when watching a television show on a regular network too. Commercials. In essence, they're asking you to buy their products but not quite as direct as PBS.
 
#14
2) There hasn't been a follow up to Manor House, Frontier House, Colonial House, etc., since Texas Ranch House in 2006.
Up until I read your post, I hadn't thought about those shows in years. They really were high quality shows that showed people out of their element. It was quite entertaining in the one episode when the spoiled girls had to tough it out.
 

KrazyKatz

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
Up until I read your post, I hadn't thought about those shows in years. They really were high quality shows that showed people out of their element. It was quite entertaining in the one episode when the spoiled girls had to tough it out.
The first was "1910 House," in London, and was a real eye-opener.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#17
Here's a recent PBS annoyance for Julie and myself. Last November we watched a very enjoyable Christmas show on PBS, The Trans Siberian Christmas Spectacular Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Official website and PBS was promoting their tour coming to Seattle. Tickets were available at the usual sources or thru the PBS Channel at a higher cost, to help support the station.

I bought tickets thru the station and they (I assume randomly) selected our seat locations which were very good, however, the TSO "Christmas Spectacular" was about 50% Christmas related and the other half of the show was new material from their forthcoming Spring tour, completely unrelated to what was advertised or what we expected.

The show was full of energy and it was very entertaining but it left us cold. I know PBS is not responsible for what TSO does, on the other hand we felt swindled. I wonder how old the PBS version is? Merry ChrisSpring.
Jim
 
#18
PBS still has a ton of programs that I enjoy watching, even when some other channels have started to offer similar programs in some cases. PBS however is the channel that brings everything together all in one place, and they seem to almost always have something worth watching on the Television for me to enjoy.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#19
PBS out the WAZOO: Northern Utah.

I Get 4 pbs affiliates and their subs, 3-4 each, OTA. Overkill?

KUED (7), 3 channels.

KUEN (9), 3 channels. Upper channel, 9.91, is kuen NPR, audio only. Some tv sets show no video, other sets overlay the video from 9.1

KISU (10), 4 channels. (Idaho PTV) 10.1 is a lifesaver. kids shows all day till about 5 pm.

and

KBYU (11), 4 channels (BYU) "the morman channel" on all your cable and sat. systems is also a pbs affiliate, but more LDS programming than PBS.

As you can see you can never have too much PBS.

I was concerned when we stopped paying for tv, about only 1 thing. Kids tv, and we found that 10.1 IDPTV has kids shows all day. And best thing about that is, No Commercials. The kids don't run up to you screaming " Daddy daddy I want that " and its educational too... compared to Disney, Nik, or the Cartoon network, I'd rather the kids watch PBS.

I think PBS has really done great with Multicasting. altho there is duplicate programming between the 14 channels PBS gives me, there is almost always something to watch. On the downside, they are mostly 480i or 720p.

Now the problem is that its starting to seem like infomercials at times: Dr wayne dyer "BUY MY STUFF" metaphysical crap, etc. really! The power of intention? I intended to give pbs $$$, but intentions have no power. But I digress! Last night IDPTV had a 75 minute Dolly Parton concert that I swear lasted 3 hours because of the begging: 1 song, then 10 minutes of "at the $150 level, ...."

But I love me some NOVA, and lest we not forget: Red Green, Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, and where was the first place you guys saw Monty Python? Yep, PBS, you smegheads.

I have never given them money. I will soon, at least that is my intention.

MrPogi
 
#20
Seriously here, you get FOUR different PBS affiliates where you are?

We get two around where I live, and I thought even getting that many was somewhat out of the ordinary for most areas, but maybe not lol

And yeah, PBS definitely helped introduce me to a lot of great BBC shows such as Doctor Who and Monty Python etc.
 
Top