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What's going on with PBS? KQED?


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#1 of 5 Nelson Au

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Posted July 22 2012 - 06:11 AM

Not sure I should post this in the TV section, but it's a topic that's been on my mind a while. I guess funding for public television has taken a really deep dive recently. Not sure about other parts of the country, but the largest PBS station in my area is KQED. It's a San Francisco based station that's been around for a very long time. They in recent years bought out a competing PBS station based in San Jose and have taken over the entire San Francisco Bay Area with two main stations, channel 9.1 and 54.1 with additional 9.2 and 9.3 and 54.2 up to 54.4 channels of programming aimed at cooking and home improvement and children's and science and so on. But of late, they are doing more and more pledge breaks. The last few years you'd see a couple a year and they last two weeks. But this past year it seems like even more. They just did one that lasted the whole of June. Then the first 2 weeks of July was back to normal and this weekend it's back to pledge programming again! Certainly running two stations is a major financial burden! I'm sure with the bad economy, people simply don't have extra money to pledge with and the funding from other sources are limited as well. Makes me wonder if the pledge drives are like this all over the US.

#2 of 5 Michael Harris

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Posted July 22 2012 - 06:45 AM

It seems that way here in the metro DC area on WETA and Maryland Public TV (MPT). It is getting to the point where watching PBS is getting painful. What I really hate about TV pledge drives is the garbage they air. Where they should be putting the spotlight on their regular programming they use bait and switch with shows they'd never broadcast outside of pledge time. Also I don't need to watch my PBS to be told why I should be watching my PBS station. Same goes to public radio stations interrupting programming to tell me why I should be listening to the program being interrupted.

#3 of 5 Nelson Au

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Posted July 22 2012 - 07:53 AM

You brought up something else that's been bugging me about the pledge drives. Don't they seem like opportunities for some known or lesser known personalities to push their books? Of course they mean well as they want to help PBS. This must be the garbage you are speaking of. The Rick Steve's shows are a PBS stable, so when he's there to help, that seems less like he's pushing a package. But I guess the gang at This Old House, one show I really like to watch, isn't going to pull in the money at pledge time. Jacques Pepin might.

#4 of 5 Jack Briggs

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Posted July 27 2012 - 10:04 AM

Nelson: PBS overall has increased the number of "pledge breaks" to a basic four times per year. However, PBS itself only authorizes these breaks in one- or two-week segments. Like you and Michael, I do not care for the "pledge break" programming itself: horrible stuff I would never tune in to in the first place (Wayne Dyer? Give me a break). However, some PBS affiliates like to do an additional two weeks of pledge drive nonsense -- including the PBS flagship station now serving the Los Angeles area: KOCE, which likes to call itself "PBSoCal" now (the Orange County station took over the bulk of PBS programming after KCET ditched PBS in a fare dispute). So there you have it. Yes, these so-called "pledge" drives are annoying, but they are necessary for the PBS affiliates to survive. Yet I do have a problem with various local PBS affiliates adding another couple of weeks of such offerings as 50 Years of Doo-Wop and Ed Sullivan's Rock'n'Roll Classics and the New Age musings of Wayne Dyer. Why not, for example, run marathons of NOVA or the more evergreen editions of Frontline? I'd tune in for that. Otherwise, if your PBS station carries the PBS World substation, then tune in to it during the pledge drives (sometimes I skip KOCE altogether and simply watch World -- which shows PBS Newshour a mere hour after it runs on the main station). Thank goodness for PBS World. JB

#5 of 5 Nelson Au

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Posted July 28 2012 - 04:10 AM

Thats verying interrsting news Jack. I didnt know that PBS is allowed four per year. But that each station has the option to add additional 2 weeks to get more pledging. I realize the times are hard and they have to do what it takes to survive. Its too bad it has to be this way. Yes, Wayne Dyer! :). I was wondering what the heck when I saw a few minutes of his shtick. This programming for the pledge drives must have roots to or even before shows with Dr. Perricone and his segments on youthful appearance through his diet and nutrition plan. Appealing to the Boomers. The music of the 50's and 60's shows as you mentioned. Must be very popular which is driving these current crop of pledge programming. I must admit, of the shows they do today, I actually do check out the ones by Suze Orman, despite her questionable past. I'll remember to look to World, thanks.