Public Broadcasting Act of 1967

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 (47 U.S.C. § 396) set up public broadcasting in the United States, establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and, eventually, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and National Public Radio (NPR).

The act charged the CPB with encouraging and facilitating program diversity, and expanding and developing non-commercial broadcasting. The CPB would have the funds to help local stations create innovative programs, thereby increasing the service of broadcasting in the public interest throughout the country.[1]

Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
Great Seal of the United States (obverse)
Long titleAn Act to amend the Communications Act of 1934 by extending and improving the provisions thereof relating to grants for construction of educational television broadcasting facilities, by authorizing assistance in the construction of non-commercial educational radio broadcasting facilities, by establishing a nonprofit corporation to assist in establishing innovative educational programs, to facilitate educational program availability, and to aid the operation of educational broadcasting facilities; and to authorize a comprehensive study of instructional television and radio; and for other purposes.
Enacted bythe 90th United States Congress
EffectiveNovember 7, 1967
Public law90-129
Statutes at Large81 Stat. 365
Titles amended47 U.S.C.: Telegraphy
U.S.C. sections amended47 U.S.C. ch. 5 §§ 390-397, 609
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 1160
  • Passed the House on September 21, 1967 (266-91, in lieu of H.R. 6736)
  • Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 7, 1967


L.B. Johnson signing Public Broadcasting Act of 1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Act on November 7, 1967.

The act was supported by many prominent Americans, including Fred Rogers ("Mister Rogers"), one of the founders of NPR and creator of All Things Considered Robert Conley, and Senator John O. Pastore, then chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, during the House and United States Senate hearings in 1967.

The United States House of Representatives passed the bill 266-91 on September 21, 1967, with 51 members voting "present" and two not voting.[2]

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act into law on November 7, 1967, he described its purpose as:

It announces to the world that our nation wants more than just material wealth; our nation wants more than a 'chicken in every pot.' We in America have an appetite for excellence, too. While we work every day to produce new goods and to create new wealth, we want most of all to enrich man's spirit. That is the purpose of this act.[3]

It will give a wider and, I think, stronger voice to educational radio and television by providing new funds for broadcast facilities. It will launch a major study of television's use in the Nation's classrooms and its potential use throughout the world. Finally — and most important — it builds a new institution: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."[3]

The act was originally to be called the "Public Television Act" and focus exclusively on television, worrying supporters of public radio. However, in a sudden change of fortune, Senator Robert Griffin suggested changing the name to the "Public Broadcasting Act" when the bill passed through the Senate. After several revisions, including last-minute changes added with Scotch Tape, the law signed by Johnson included radio. This set the path for the incorporation of National Public Radio (NPR) in 1970.[4]

Educational television

In addition to the progress made by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, other areas such as educational television (ETV) made headway as well. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had reserved almost 250 channel frequencies for educational stations in 1953,[5] although, seven years later, only 44 such stations were in operation.[6] However, by 1969, the number of stations had climbed to 175.

Each week, the National Education Television and Radio Center (renamed in 1963 to National Educational Television) aired a few hours of relatively inexpensive programs to educational stations across the country. These programs were produced by a plethora of stations across the nation, such as WGBH in Boston, WTTW in Chicago, and KQED in San Francisco. Unfortunately, with the growth of commercial radio and television, the more poorly-funded educational programming was being largely ignored. The higher budgets of the commercial media were making it difficult for the educational programs to compete, due to their smaller budgets.

The networks airing educational programming began to favor the commercial entertainment programs because they lured more people, and thus more advertising dollars. Locally run, nonprofit television and radio tried to "fill in the gaps"[7] but, due to the technology gap created by budget constraints, it was increasingly difficult to produce the high-tech programming that consumers were used to.

In 1965, the increasing distance between commercial and educational programming led to the Carnegie Corporation of New York ordering its Commission on Education Television to conduct a study of ETV and, from that study, derive changes and recommendations for future action regarding ETV. The report created from the study was published about two years later and became a "catalyst and model"[6] for the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

With the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, smaller television and radio broadcasters were able to be heard by a wider range of audiences, and new and developing broadcasters were encouraged to display their knowledge to the country. Before 1967, commercial radio and television was widely used by major networks in order to attract advertisers. Smaller networks were unable to make much impact due to their lack of budget.[7] The act provided a window for broadcasters to get their message across and, in some cases, straight to the point. Even people who could not afford premium channels were always provided with PBS as an additional network to the Big Three.

Many adults and children today would have grown up without some of the more well-known PBS shows, such as Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood without this act. Many other shows are informative to everyday needs or concerns. Local events and special offers were a bonus but were generally targeted at larger audiences so they were not always beneficial for the station.


Public broadcasting includes multiple media outlets, which receive some or all of their funding from the public. The main media outlets consist of radio and television. Public broadcasting consists of organizations such as CPB, Public Broadcasting Service, and National Public Radio, organizations independent of each other and of the local public television and radio stations across the country.[8]

CPB was created and funded by the federal government; it does not produce or distribute any programming.[9]

PBS is a private, nonprofit corporation, founded in 1969, whose members are America's public TV stations — noncommercial, educational licensees that operate nearly 360 PBS member stations and serve all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.[10] The nonprofit organization also reaches almost 117 million people through television and nearly 20 million people online each month.[10]

NPR is a multimedia news organization and radio program producer, with member stations and supporters nationwide.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Burke, John (1972). An Historical-Analytical Study of the Legislative and Political Origins of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
  2. ^ House Roll Call 140, 1967
  3. ^ a b Remarks of President Lyndon B. Johnson Upon Signing the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 at
  4. ^ Hellewell, Emily (8 November 2012). "How Public Radio Scotch-Taped Its Way Into Public Broadcasting Act". Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  5. ^ Burke, John Edward (1980). An Historical-Analytical Study of the Legislative and Political Origins of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. Dissertations in Broadcasting. Ayer Publishing. ISBN 0-405-11756-6. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  6. ^ a b "Television in the United States". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  7. ^ a b "Public Broadcasting Act of 1967". Enotes. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  8. ^ "About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting".
  9. ^ "Corporation for Public Broadcasting". Archived from the original on 2015-05-11.
  10. ^ a b "PBS".
  11. ^ "About NPR: Overview and History". NPR.

External links

1967 in radio

The year 1967 saw a number of significant happenings in radio broadcasting history.

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968

The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 ("ABA", Pub.L. 90–480, 82 Stat. 718, enacted August 12, 1968, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 4151 et seq.) is an Act of Congress, enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The ABA requires that facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with funds supplied by the United States Federal Government be accessible to the public. For example, it mandates provision of disabled-access toilet facilities in such buildings. The ABA marks one of the first efforts to ensure that certain federally funded buildings and facilities are designed and constructed to be accessible to people with disabilities. Facilities that predate the law generally are not covered, but alterations or leases undertaken after the law took effect can trigger coverage.

Uniform standards for the design, construction and alteration of buildings so that persons with disabilities will have ready access to and use of them. These Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) are developed and maintained by an Access Board and serve as the basis for the standards used to enforce the law. The Board enforces the ABA by investigating complaints concerning particular facilities. Four Federal agencies are responsible for the setting the standards: the Department of Defense, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the General Services Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service. These federal agencies are responsible for ensuring compliance with UFAS when funding the design, construction, alteration, or leasing of facilities. Some departments have, as a matter of policy, also required compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines (which otherwise do not apply to the Federal sector) in addition to UFAS.

Bashir Ahmad (camel driver)

Bashir Ahmad (Urdu: بشیر احمد) (c. 1913 – 1970s) was an impoverished Pakistani camel driver, who in 1961 met with the then US vice-president Lyndon B Johnson and accepted an invitation to come to America. The vice president soon turned the event into a public relations coup.

Ben McKenzie

Benjamin McKenzie Schenkkan (born September 12, 1978), is an American actor, writer and director. He portrayed Ryan Atwood in the television series The O.C. and Ben Sherman in Southland. He appeared in the films Junebug and 88 Minutes. His first starring role in a feature film was in the 2008 indie release Johnny Got His Gun. From 2014 to 2019, McKenzie starred as James Gordon in the television series Gotham, for which he also wrote and directed episodes.

Committee for the Preservation of the White House

The Committee for the Preservation of the White House is an advisory committee charged with the preservation of the White House, the official home and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The committee is largely made up of citizens appointed by the president for their experience with historic preservation, architecture, decorative arts, and for their scholarship in these areas.

The Committee for the Preservation of the White House was created by Executive Order in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson to replace a temporary White House Furnishings Committee established by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the Kennedy White House restoration (1961–1963). The committee is charged with establishing policies relating to the museum function of the White House, its state rooms and collections. It also works with the White House Historical Association in making recommendations on acquisitions for the permanent collection of the White House and provides advice on changes to principal rooms on the ground floor, state floor, and the historic guest suites on the residence floor of the White House Executive Residence.

The Executive Order states that the Curator of the White House, Chief Usher of the White House, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the Chair of the United States Commission of Fine Arts, and Director of the National Gallery of Art serve as Ex-Officio members of the committee. The Director of the National Park Service serves as Chair of the Committee, and the First Lady serves as the Honorary Chair of the committee.

In February 2010, Los Angeles interior designer Michael S. Smith was appointed to the committee; in August of that year, his makeover of the Oval Office was revealed to the public.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is an American non-profit corporation created in 1967 by an act of the United States Congress and funded by the federal government to promote and help support public broadcasting. The corporation's mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services. It does so by distributing more than 70 percent of its funding to more than 1,400 locally owned public radio and television stations.

Food Stamp Act of 1964

The Food Stamp Act (P.L. 88-525) provided permanent legislative authority to the Food Stamp Program, which had been administratively implemented on a pilot basis in 1962. On August 31, 1964 it was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was later replaced and completely rewritten and revised by the food stamp provisions of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-113, Title XIII; 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.), which eliminated the purchase requirement and simplified eligibility requirements. Amendments were made to this Act in 1981-82, 1984-85, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002 (most recently by Title IV of the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171, Sec. 4101-4126).

As of 2005, the current Food Stamp Act (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) includes authority through FY2007 for the regular Food Stamp Program, for Nutrition Assistance Grants to Puerto Rico and American Samoa (in lieu of food stamps), for Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and for commodity purchases for the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program.

J. C. R. Licklider

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (; March 11, 1915 – June 26, 1990), known simply as J. C. R. or "Lick", was an American psychologist and computer scientist who is considered one of the most important figures in computer science and general computing history.

He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and its application to all manner of activities; and also as an Internet pioneer with an early vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He did much to initiate this by funding research which led to much of it, including today's canonical graphical user interface, and the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet.

He has been called "computing's Johnny Appleseed", for planting the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC's Computer Science Laboratory and Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center, noted that "most of the significant advances in computer technology—including the work that my group did at Xerox PARC—were simply extrapolations of Lick's vision. They were not really new visions of their own. So he was really the father of it all".This quotation from the full-length biography of him, The Dream Machine, gives some sense of his impact:

"More than a decade will pass before personal computers emerge from the garages of Silicon Valley, and a full thirty years before the Internet explosion of the 1990s. The word computer still has an ominous tone, conjuring up the image of a huge, intimidating device hidden away in an over-lit, air-conditioned basement, relentlessly processing punch cards for some large institution: them."Yet, sitting in a nondescript office in McNamara's Pentagon, a quiet...civilian is already planning the revolution that will change forever the way computers are perceived. Somehow, the occupant of that office...has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just super-fast calculating machines, but joyful machines: tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of online information."

Job Corps

Job Corps is a program administered by the United States Department of Labor that offers free-of-charge education and vocational training to young men and women ages 16 to 24.

Joseph Wilson Baines

Joseph Wilson Baines (January 24, 1846 – November 18, 1906) was Secretary of State of Texas and a member of the Texas state legislature.Baines was born in Mount Lebanon, Louisiana but his family moved to Anderson, Texas when he was four. He was a son of George W. Baines. He studied at Baylor University. In 1867 he moved to Collin County, Texas where he studied law under James W. Throckmorton. Baines was involved as owner and publisher of multiple papers in McKinney, Texas. From 1883-1887 Baines was the Secretary of State of Texas. Later starting in 1903 he served one term in the Texas House of Representatives, being succeeded by his future son-in-law Samuel Ealy Johnson Jr.Baines married Ruth Ament Huffman of Collin County in 1896. Both are buried at Der Stadt Friedhof in Fredericksburg, Texas. They were the parents of Rebekah Baines Johnson, and the maternal grandparents of Lyndon B. Johnson.

National Educational Radio Network

The National Educational Radio Network (NERN) was a means of distributing radio programs in the United States between 1961 and 1970. With funding from the Ford Foundation, the network began broadcasting on six radio stations on April 3, 1961.A forerunner was formed in 1925 as the Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations, then renamed the National Association of Educational Broadcasters in 1934. In 1951 a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation enabled the network to become the "(NAEB) Tape Network", based at the University of Illinois.NAEB Tape Network became part of the National Educational Radio Network in 1963. As a result of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 NERN became part of National Public Radio in 1970.

National Public Broadcasting Archives

The National Public Broadcasting Archives (NPBA) – housed as part of the Broadcasting Archives at the University of Maryland – preserves the history of American non-commercial broadcasting materials. It is housed at the University of Maryland, College Park in Hornbake Library. NPBA serves as a living reminder of the cultural and intellectual continuity of the effort to make television something more than commercial networks can provide. Its mission is to work with the primary national entities of American noncommercial broadcasting to identify records and programs of historical value and to serve as a repository for those materials. Its collection is open to the public.

NPBA was initiated by educator and former PBS board member Donald R McNeil (1923-1996). Citing the language of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 that the primary entities of public broadcasting will "establish and maintain a library and archives of non-commercial educational television and radio programs and related materials," McNeil convinced the chief officers of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio and the Association of America's Public Television Stations to launch a cooperative effort to gather in one place the historical record of American public broadcasting. The University of Maryland Libraries agreed to serve as the academic host for the effort and the Archives was officially inaugurated June 1, 1990.

NPBA maintains the archival record of key public broadcasting agencies such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), National Public Radio (NPR), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Children's Television Workshop (CTW) as well as important program materials from stations WAMU 88.5 FM, WETA and Maryland Public Television. The NPBA includes the NPR News Programming Collection. NPBA also maintains the personal papers of over 120 individuals who were associated with public radio or television during the course of their careers.

NPBA continues to grow and develop with the regular transfer of participants' records to its storage areas. The Archives also seeks new collections from other organizations and individuals associated with public broadcasting. To enhance its holdings the Archives welcomes additional correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes and daily logs or journals; photographs, films, audio/videotapes, kinescopes, graphic materials, scrapbooks, journals and magazines.

November 7

November 7 is the 311th day of the year (312th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 54 days remain until the end of the year.

This day marks the approximate midpoint of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and of spring in the Southern Hemisphere (starting the season at the September equinox).

Patricia Harrison

Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the president and chief executive officer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in the United States. Her candidacy arose with backing from CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson following a CPB Inspector General report that Kenneth Tomlinson, then chair of the CPB, used "political tests" to select a president/CEO with conservative viewpoints.

Public broadcasting

Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. In much of the world, funding comes from the government, especially via annual fees charged on receivers. In the United States, public broadcasters may receive some funding from both federal and state sources, but generally most financial support comes from underwriting by foundations and businesses ranging from small shops to corporations, along with audience contributions via pledge drives. The great majority are operated as private not-for-profit corporations.Public broadcasting may be nationally or locally operated, depending on the country and the station. In some countries, public broadcasting is run by a single organization. Other countries have multiple public broadcasting organizations operating regionally or in different languages. Historically, public broadcasting was once the dominant or only form of broadcasting in many countries (with the notable exception of the United States). Commercial broadcasting now also exists in most of these countries; the number of countries with only public broadcasting declined substantially during the latter part of the 20th century.

Sam Houston Johnson

Samuel Houston Johnson (January 31, 1914 – December 11, 1978) was an American businessman. He was the younger brother of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Torbert Macdonald

Torbert Hart Macdonald (June 6, 1917 – May 21, 1976), nicknamed Torby, was an American politician from Massachusetts. He served as a

Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives serving from 1955 until his death from internal hemorrhage in Bethesda, Maryland in 1976.

Macdonald was born in Everett, Massachusetts in 1917 and grew up in Malden, Massachusetts. After several years in public school, he entered Phillips Academy in Andover. Macdonald attended Harvard University, where he was captain of the football team and the roommate of John F. Kennedy. They remained close friends throughout their lives, with Macdonald serving as an usher at then-Senator Kennedy's wedding and as an honorary pallbearer at President Kennedy's funeral. At Harvard, Macdonald earned his B.A. in 1940 and his LL.B. in 1946 from its law school.

Macdonald served in the United States Navy as a PT boat commander in the Southwest Pacific theater from 1942 to 1944 and was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Commendation. He was admitted to the bar in 1946 and commenced the practice of law in Boston, Massachusetts as a partner in the firm of Stoneman, Macdonald & Chandler. Macdonald was a member of the National Labor Relations Board for the New England area from 1948 to 1952, and he was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1960, 1964, and 1968.

Macdonald was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-fourth Congress in 1954. During his career, he served as Majority Whip, and as ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. He was often referred to as the "Father of Public Broadcasting", since he was one of the legislators primarily responsible for Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. He was also responsible for the "sports blackout bill" which provides for the broadcast of local sold -out sporting contests. Another focus was his effort to reform campaign broadcasting practices, addressing his concern that competent candidates were being priced out of the process, and others were buying their way in. While recognized as an active legislator, he was also justly noted for his high level of service to individual constituents and their problems. His sharp wit and sense of humor garnered him among his Congressional colleagues the nickname "The Needle". He was reelected ten times, and died in office on May 21, 1976, in Bethesda, Maryland.

He married actress Phyllis Brooks June 23, 1945, in Tarrytown, New York, and they remained married until his death. They had four children, the eldest of whom was President Kennedy's godson.

Macdonald was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, Massachusetts.

Torb Macdonald is portrayed in the 1993 movie JFK: Reckless Youth.


WFPL is a 24-hour listener-supported, noncommercial radio station in Louisville, Kentucky, broadcasting at 89.3 MHz and focusing on news. The station is the flagship National Public Radio station for the Louisville market. WFPL is now owned by Louisville Public Media and was originally owned by the Louisville Free Public Library. When the station came on the air in 1950, it was the first library-owned radio station in the country.

Warren Magnuson

Warren Grant "Maggie" Magnuson (April 12, 1905 – May 20, 1989) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a U.S. Representative (1937–1944) and a U.S. Senator (1944–1981) from Washington. He served over 36 years in the Senate, and was the most senior member of the body during his final two years in office.

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