With a population of approximately 30 million Canada spends up to 1 billion
per year on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - the public broadcaster
for both radio and television with services in several languages (French,
English, Inuit...) It makes for a very interesting comparison.
>On Mon, 30 Jan 1995 [log in to unmask] wrote:
>> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>> Again, Paul doesn't seem to be relating the matter to questions of film and
>> television. I assume there are other political activism listserv's available
>> for cheerleading and so forth. The fact is $285 million in tax dollars are
>> being spent. Is this subsidy truly necessary?
>> Larry Jarvik
>> Center for the Study of Popular Culture
>Mr. Jarvik --
>YES, thought should precede action. So how about a little thought on the
>part of Congress before ramming a bill through the legislature during the
>first month which would significantly cut funding for public broadcasting??
>Certainly there are those who will argue that the "public" in "public
>broadcasting" ceases to be relevant, what with the influence of AT&T and
>other corporate "underwriters." Perhaps the need of NPR and PBS to turn
>to corporations and foundations for additional support is symptomatic of
>a larger problem with regard to how we, as a nation, through public (as
>well as private) policy decision making, have tended to value the role of
>culture, education and the arts.
>In response to your question, "Is this subsidy truly necessary?" many
>factors need to be considered. The fact is, in the Big Picture, $285
>million is not an exorbitant amount of tax revenue to allocate for public
>broadcasting when you consider that it comes out to roughly one dollar
>per citizen. Add to that our total spending on the arts is about $14 per
>person annually, compared with nations like Germany, Japan, France, or
>Great Britian who spend anywhere from $25 to $70 per person annually, and it
>becomes clear that we already spend SIGNIFICANTLY less than other nations on
>various cultural forms. What could possibly be the incentive for cutting
>While I'll grant you that channels such as American Movie Classics, TNN,
>Discovery, A&E, and so forth provide decent quality programming (despite
>particular problems some of us might have with the level of corporate
>interest involved), these channels appear on cable and/or satellite TV.
>Approximately 24% of the communities in the United States proper (i.e. as
>a geographical entity as opposed to a penetrating Market) are not yet
>wired for cable. These are mostly rural communities who depend on
>"public" broadcasting to bring them anything which is even remotely
>dissimilar from the commercial fare on traditional "broadcast"
>television. Secondly, and I think this point is crucial, cable and/or
>satellite requires, by definition, capital outlay from its consumers in
>order to participate at all. Certain members of the public, because of
>economic barriers, would be denied access to these forms of cultural
>capital. The best part of this arrangement, of course, is that we (read:
>those of us who can afford it, or perhaps those of us who skimp on the
>groceries so we can afford it) get to pay for the privelege of being
>targeted as potential customers of the national and multi-national
>conglomerates, who determine to a significant extent
>both the types of cultural forms which will be made available for
>consumption, as well as defining the limits or boundaries of "legitimate"
>Lastly (although there is certainly PLENTY more to discuss), as
>subscribers to these lists I can assume that we are all either scholars
>of media forms, or at least individuals with something more than a
>passing interest in the relation of mediated forms of cultural expression
>to the larger social mileu. We have a stake, whether we like it or not,
>in the fate of public broadcasting. Therefore, I would argue that it is
>perfectly legitimate to post a call-to-action to this list, especially in
>light of what I see as Congress' irresponsible knee-jerk reaction.
>Forcing PBS and NPR to become even more accountable to private capital
>interests than they already are by having to compete for market share will
>mean the death of public broadcasting as we know it.
>And I for one shall not have the blood of Big Bird on MY hands!
>Edward B Hargrove
>Department of Curriculum & Instruction
>University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign
>"Listen, I've said enough. You do what you want with this thing. There's
>just one more thing, though. This town needs this little measley
>one-horse institution if only so that people can have some place to go
>without crawlin' to Potter!"
> -James Stewart as George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life"
> [as though I really needed to cite that one]