Forty-three years ago, when the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB) was formed by Congress, television had 4 stations on the VHF dial in most cities.  In Washington it was 4, 5, 7 and 9.  On UHF we had one decent station, 20, and on a good day we could watch channel 45 from Baltimore.  That was it.

 

Because commercial television only offered programming supported by advertising, it was nearly impossible to find public service or educational material on the air.  It made sense to offer an alternative and that was public television.  In fact there probably is still a place for the programming found on public television, however there are numerous other outlets available, so why are we taxpayers funding something that’s readily available from other sources without a government handout?

 

It would’ve been unimaginable that we could ever see 200, 500 or even a thousand channels on our televisions at the time the CPB came into existence.  Of course we couldn’t have dreamt of Tivo or the Internet either.  Thank you Al Gore.  Who would’ve thought there’d be a History Channel?  A DIY network?  A Cartoon Network?  We live in a technological age that is light years ahead of where we were when Burt and Ernie came into existence.

 

Obama’s latest budget provides $445 million for the CPB.  In a $3.7 trillion dollar budget that sounds like pocket change.  Add that change to a few hundred other wasteful or no longer necessary programs and you’ve got real money!

 

In a time where the country is near bankrupt, should we be funding any program that isn’t absolutely necessary?  Is the CPB necessary?  No.  All the programs provided on CPB related services such as PBS and NPR, are available from numerous other sources.  If there is a demand for a program ,such as Sesame Street, you can bet that it’ll show up on the Learning Channel or about a dozen other outlets.  Those shows with a solid following will remain, just not supported by an over-spent Congress.