From time to time, "the definition of public broadcasting and public service media should be reviewed," writes Adam Powell, of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. "The opportunity is immense." In his post today (Aug. 31), Powell returns to the original 1967 report of the Carnegie Commission on Educational Television to examine how the system is living up to its responsibilities. One point: "Over the air, the mission of experimentation has largely atrophied," Powell writes. "The PBS prime time schedule is filled with programs that are decades old, so there is little room for innovation or for new programs of any kind."
The very first public television series distributed live from coast to coast, he points out, was "different and bold" — PBL: Public Broadcasting Laboratory, which tackled “the failure of communication between the races” in its first segment. "After two seasons, PBL was canceled and replaced by The Forsythe Saga," Powell notes, "and thus was set the pattern for public TV Sunday nights to the present day."