Remember PBS?

When I was really young, I watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on NET (now I’m really dating myself). NET was succeeded by PBS (who picked up the aforementioned programs). My mom used to watch The French Chef (with Julia Child) on PBS, as well as many other “educational” programs. But mostly, I remember the music.

As a child, I used to love watching/listening to Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on PBS. I also tried never to miss Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. When I was older, it was on PBS that I first saw John Adams’ Nixon in China and the films Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi, which featured music by Philip Glass. I remember countless broadcasts of Live from Lincoln Center, the Mostly Mozart Festivals, Ithak Perlman, Sherrill Milnes, Dave Brubeck, and lots more.

Now, when I turn on PBS, I see Celtic Woman. I see the band America, or Heart, or Beck. Hey, I like Heart. I like Beck. I’ve even been known to sing along with “A Horse With No Name” when nobody’s looking. But it’s not like these sorts of performers don’t have lots of other outlets.

Lynn Neary examined this phenomenon today. I wish the folks in Washington would put some dollars back into supporting the arts so that PBS wouldn’t have to become little more than a commercial network.

Think they’ll be re-running Nixon in China during an upcoming pledge week? Not a chance.


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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7 Responses to Remember PBS?

  1. karen says:

    When I was growing up, PBS was the channel that could be counted on (by my parents) to be broadcasting something educational – a guaranteed OK show they could sit the kids down in front of for a while. It wasn’t always riveting programming to me and my sister, but it was always good for a few more bits of random trivia or an actual lesson in something.

    These days, I feel I need to to check the PBS programming before sticking my kids in front of a show – so much so that I usually choose a known DVD rather than risk not making a good choice if I’m in a hurry.

    Also? There used to be two pledge drives per year, one of which was tied to a big auction that was fun to watch. Now? It seems like they’re asking for money every other month! I maintain my pledge in hopes of preserving my ability to watch the British comedies but it’s just not the same. Progress? I think not.

  2. RevJATB says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks they have a pledge drive every other week! When I was growing up in Birmingham, I never remember seeing a pledge drive at all on APT. (APT is the oldest public television network in the country, having begun in 1953. Now, every other state’s public television network is modeled after APT.) It was not until we moved to Florida (when I was eight) that I ever saw a public television pledge drive. Now, of course, they all have them, all the time, even APT.

    What I really hate are those “canned” interstitials, with people pretending to answer the phones, and friendly announcers who have never even seen your state trying to act as if they’re in your local public television network’s studio, asking you for money. The truth is, those same interstitials are running on public television stations all over the country. Who do they think they’re fooling?

  3. Sara says:

    I swear Thirteen runs really noxious concert series during pledge week/month/year/aeon to torture people into donating. If it’s not Yanni or Celtic Mists it’s the Doo-Wop Reunion Tour (nothing against doo-wop, but boooorrrrinnnggg…). Or that ballroom dance show hosted by Marilu Henner. They really pull out the dregs for pledge time.

    Thirteen is pretty good, as PBS affiliates go. The programming generally stays educational and vaguely erudite (BBC news, Frontline documentaries, Antiques Roadshow). Though lately they’ve been throwing in weird religious documentaries that seem like rejects from the Discovery Channel. I don’t necessarily need to keep PBS completely 100% secular at all times (Religion and Ethics Weekly is a serious guilty pleasure), but please, no end times propaganda. And if you’re going to do something on the Bible, try to round it out with something from another religious perspective every once in a while. This is New York, after all.

  4. Morris says:

    Now, my friends, don’t you go dissin’ my Celtic Woman … AND PLEASE STOP INTERRUPTING THEM WITH PLEDGE BREAKS!

    If I weren’t already head over heels in love with my wife, I could fall in love several times over watching Celtic Woman.

  5. RevJATB says:

    Hey I’m not dissin’ Celtic Woman. Don’t be hatin’. I’m just saying, where’s all the other stuff that used to be on PBS?

    (Heck, I married a Celtic woman, so you know I have nothing against them!)

  6. Erin says:

    Well, I was watching Mystery and Masterpiece Theatre in elementary school, my mom didn’t like Sesame Street, and my sister might have liked Mr. Rogers, but I was still a Brit movie fan. What a run-on! Hey, I have license though, I have a 10 day old shortie pie. I still remember when Peter, Paul, and Mary would be on PBS, I don’t even know if all of them are still alive.

  7. Erin says:

    Happy B-day btw—you, me and Paul McCartney.

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