Public affairs (broadcasting)

Last updated on 12 June 2017

In broadcasting, public affairs radio or television programs focus on matters of politics and public policy. Among commercial broadcasters, such programs are often only to satisfy Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory expectations and are not scheduled in prime time. Public affairs television programs are usually broadcast at times when few listeners or viewers are tuned in (or even awake) in the U.S., in time slots known as graveyard slots; such programs can be frequently encountered at times such as 5-6 a.m. on a Sunday.

Public affairs coverage is carried as digital subchannels of existing state network Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member public television stations.

Government-access television (GATV) is cable channel capacity for local government bodies and other legislative entities to access the cable television systems to televise public affairs meetings.

At some (particularly national) broadcasters, "Public Affairs" may be a special unit, separate from the news department, dedicated to producing long-form public-affairs programming, as at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation prior to 1992. As of 2012, C-SPAN's three networks are the most widely known and widely available public affairs channels in the United States.

See also

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