Book coverThe 2000 edition of A History of Public Broadcasting is out of print, but we plan to revise and republish it as funding permits.

Current also plans to republish TeleVisionaries, a history of the public TV stations compiled by Dick Robertson, based on his oral-history interviews with station founders.

A History of Public Broadcasting includes eight chapters published in 1987 by public broadcasting veterans John Witherspoon and Roselle Kovitz plus a three-chapter update added in 2000 by Robert K. Avery of the University of Utah and Alan G. Stavitsky of the University of Oregon.

Public broadcasting stations, universities and other groups have used the book to:

  • introduce communications students to the noncommercial side of broadcasting.
  • orient station’s newcomers, including staff, volunteers and board members.
  • develop professionals’ knowledge of issues and institutions in their field.

The concise, 138-page book covers public broadcasting’s development, purposes, principles and its potential and is supplemented by the website now called  Public Media Policybase, compiled in partnership with the National Public Broadcasting Archives, which provides easy web access to texts of the legislation, studies and court verdicts that define public broadcasting.

What readers say about A History of Public Broadcasting

  • Recommended!
  • With an “invaluable” web supplement.
  • Brings staffers “into the discussion.”
  • “Concise, fact-filled.”
  • “Indispensable.”

This is a publication worthy of the subject! Inexpensive, too, it suggests itself for course adoption, especially with its web-based supplementary materials. Recommended!
Christopher Sterling, Communications Booknotes Quarterly, Spring 2000

A well done short trip through a complicated story. It is factual and doesn’t really gloss over the murky parts. The references to web-based material, which my students used often, is also very useful …The book reads well, doesn’t tell you more than you want to know and, thankfully, lacks the feel of an academic tome. Combined with Current, it allowed me to cover the past, present and future of public broadcasting.
Ralph Jennings, General Manager, WFUV, Fordham University

An excellent resource for public broadcasting professionals and fans who want to know the system’s roots.
Lisa A. Phillips, Reporter, Northeast Public Radio, Albany

An excellent book for a class (or a unit in a class) on public broadcasting. The tie-in with the Public Broadcasting PolicyBase [on the Web] is invaluable. Students can read primary documents in the history and workings of pubcasting, and use these in presentations and papers as context for more current issues. The students have loved it, both for its format and its conciseness. It’s a wonderful supplement for lectures.
Betsy Krueger, Associate Professor, Washington State University

The senior managers had a growing feeling that new hires just had no sense of the history of the industry and, as a result, were left out of “the discussion” many times. . . . We felt it imperative to try to fill the gap…. We believe a better informed staff will value their industry and the service they provide the community…. History is a wonderful way to create perspective, particularly for younger members of the staff.
Malcolm Wall, Executive Director, The Oklahoma Network

This concise, fact-filled history highlights the people and the politics that determined the evolution of public television and radio in America…. Together with its supplementary website, it provides an excellent introduction to public broadcasting for students and teachers of media policy and for fans of PBS programming.
Peggy Charren, Founder, Action for Children’s Television, Cambridge, Mass.

Clear and concise but also comprehensive. It’s indispensable for anyone interested in where public broadcasting has been and where it might be going.
Matthew Holzman, Development Director, KCRW, Santa Monica

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