Many of us are suffering from election fatigue this week, so let’s celebrate an important milestone instead. On this day, Nov. 7, Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, establishing the nonprofit Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). That week also saw Lulu’s “To Sir with Love” top the music charts, but we’ll get to that later.
According to its website, “CPB’s mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services.” It distributes more than 70% of its funding to over 1,500 locally owned public radio and television stations, spending less than 5% of its budget on operating costs. It ensures that 99% of Americans have access to public media at an annual cost of only $1.35 per citizen. It’s a platform that gave rise to offerings as diverse as Sesame Street, Morning Edition, Downton Abbey, Tiny Desk concerts, Ira Glass, Wayne Dyer and and Ken Burns. Still, people love to take shots at anything getting government money.