Public Media Policybase

CPB-PBS Partnership Agreement, 1973

A Joint Resolution of The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Public Broadcasting Service

After three years of conflict between PBS and Nixon Administration appointees at CPB, the boards of the two organizations reached this agreement, securing PBS’s role as operator of public TV’s interconnection. (The pact was adopted May 31, 1973 by the PBS Board’s Executive Committee and the CPB Board. The full PBS Board ratified it June 28, 1973.)

Resolved, by the Boards of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service, that:

In order to effect a vigorous partnership in behalf of the independence and diversity of public television and to improve the excellence of its programs;

to enhance the development, passage by Congress, and approval by the Executive branch of a long-range financing program that would remove public broadcasting from the political hazards of annual authorizations and appropriations;

to further strengthen the autonomy and independence of local public television stations; and

to reaffirm that public affairs programs are an essential responsibility of public broadcasting,

the Boards of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) do hereby jointly adopt the following agreement:

1. CPB will, in consultation with PBS, other interested parties, and the public, decide all CPB funded programs through a CPB program department. The consultation prior to CPB’s decision is vital so that the CPB programming department will understand what the licensees’ needs are and thus avoid any possibility that CPB will fund programs that the licensees do not want. By such a consultation, well in advance of CPB program decisions, time and vitally needed dollars can be saved and the public can be best served. In the event that the PBS program department dissents from any particular program decision of the CPB program department, the PBS program department may appeal to the chief executives of CPB and PBS. Should these executives fail to agree, final appeal may be made to the respective chairmen of the two organizations whose joint decision will be final.

2. All non-CPB funded programs, accepted under PBS Broadcast Journalism Standards and normal PBS procedures, will have access to the interconnection.

3. Should there by [sic] any conflict of opinion as to balance and objectivity of any programs, regardless of the source of funding, either group can appeal to a monitoring committee consisting of three CPB trustees and three PBS trustees. It will take four votes of this committee to bar a program’s access to the interconnection.

4. PBS, on behalf of the stations, will prepare a draft schedule of programs for interconnection. The draft schedule will be for one year divided into four quarters. It will be resubmitted each quarter for the ensuing four quarters. To preserve the mutual interests of both CPB and PBS, CPB will be advised and consulted in the development of the draft schedule, and when each such four quarter schedule is completed, it shall be submitted for approval of CPB. In the event that the CPB program department does not agree to the draft schedule, it may appeal to the chief executives of CPB and PBS. Should these executives fail to agree, the issue shall be presented for final decision to the board chairmen of CPB and PBS. Should they fail to agree, they shall choose a third person to whom the issue will be presented and whose decision shall be final. Emergency scheduling decisions will be made in accordance with procedures approved by the chalrmen of the CPB and PBS boards. In any event, the draft and final schedules shall reflect the arrangement of programs for interconnection service to stations, and shall not be regarded as a schedule of programs for broadcast by the stations.

5. There is hereby established a Partnership Review Committee consisting of an equal number of trustees of CPB and PBS. Such committee shall assess the working of the partnership on a regular basis with formal meetings to be held not less than four times per year. For a five-year period beginning with the adoption of this joint resolution, this committee will be charged with the responsibility of making recommendations to the boards for any modifications which they may deem desirable.

6. CPB and PBS will formalize an annual contract for the physical operation of the interconnection not later than August 31, 1973. Physical operation of the interconnection will be by PBS and will be funded by CPB. Any dispute as to the terms of the contract will be resolved by the chairmen of CPB and PBS no later than September 30, 1973. CPB will continue to finance PBS activities as it has in the past until September
30, 1973. Following that date, PBS will finance its own activities, receiving from CPB only the funds necessary for the physical interconnection services which it will render under the contract.

7. CPB and PBS hereby agree that CPB will provide the mutually desired bedrock of localism by unrestricted grants to the public television stations, under a formula accepted by CPB and PBS, aggregating annually not less than 30% at a $45 million level, increasing proportionately to: 40% at a $60 million level, 45% at a $70 million level and 50% at an $80 million level. CPB and PBS will express this commitment to the Congress in connection with the pending legislation.

Source: Scanned from insert in CPB Memo newsletter in the collection of NPBA
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