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And the same producer and the same network are now planning a series to bring the works of Mark Twain, in a domestic production, to the public television audience over a 3-year period. There are many more examples of that. Now, this man is an independent producer.
Ms. Sachs. What about independent producers who do not choose to work with the public broadcasting station for one reason or another, overhead costs, independence and so on?
Mr. Marks. I think there is definitely a place for them, and I think the system that my clients see as the most efficient would deal with that. We are in a situation where public broadcasting is trying to deliver programing to fill a tremendous amount of time. You are all familiar with the voracious appetite television has for good product.
There is a marketplace created for those sorts of programs. And again, when the stations aggregate their funds, they do so regionally. There are four or five regional organizations, and national independent producers will be able to take their programs to these organizations, and if they are good programs, I am sure these organizations will purchase them and will run them the same way they purchase Time-Life programs. But they have got to be able to survive in that marketplace. I am afraid, quite frankly, that a lot of the people who come up here and say that they cannot crack public broadcasting really are having a problem because their product does not seem to be good. It doesn't seem to be the sort of thing that the stations or their organizations feel is appropriate to spend their money on.
There are many other independent producers and I am sure you are aware of them, who do find success.
Ms. Sachs. To finish up, I would like to quote to you from an article which appeared in the New York Times on Tuesday, April 25 of last year discussing the results of the station program cooperative, which is a system by which the stations aggregate funds to support programs. It is an article by Les Brown, and I quote:
To the regret of some public television officials and the despair of independent producers, the new Public Broadcasting Service program scheduled for next fall bears an all-too-close resemblance to this year's. Virtually all the programs the stations consider their “bread and butter fare" have been renewed, as have been the major cultural showcases dependent upon corporate underwriters, “Masterpiece Theater” and “Great Performances."
This wholesale renewal of programs is deplored by some PBS executives who acknowledge as a weakness of the present system the difficulty of bringing new programs to public broadcasting.
I just read that to point out to you that, depending on where you sit, history can be read in a very different way.
Mr. Marks. May I make a response to that?
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Yes, if you can come back later today. I have been trying to convey to staff that the House for the last 20 minutes has been in a closed session on the Panama Canal. I have 300 retired admirals in San Diego who expect me to be there.
I am going to have to terminate the morning session and say that we will try to convene as close to 2 o'clock as possible. This is not to say that you must return. If you would rather submit a comment in writing, that is fine, but I must close the morning session.
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Mr. Marks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The subcommittee reconvened at 2 p.m., Hon. Lionel Van Deerlin, chairman, presiding.)
Mr. Van DEERLIN. The hearing will resume. We are pleased to have as co-witnesses this afternoon Mrs. Lillie Herndon, chairman, and Mr. Robben Fleming, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. And we would like to hear anything you have to tell us about H.Ř. 3333 or anything else on your mind.
STATEMENTS OF LILLIE HERNDON, CHAIRMAN, CORPORATION
FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING; AND ROBBEN W. FLEMING, PRESIDENT, ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES B. CARDWELL, VICE PRESIDENT, MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION, TREASURER Mrs. HERNDON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcomittee, and staff. As you have just said, our president, Robben Fleming, is also here representing the corporation today. We are very fortunate to have many members of our CPB board of directors today because we are meeting today, and I would like to read their names.
We have our vice chairman, Mr. Lucius Gregg, from Chicago. We have Dr. Gloria Anderson, Atlanta; Diana Dougan, Salt Lake City; Virginia Duncan, California; Michael Gammino, Providence, R.I.; Amos Hostetter, Boston, Mass.; Clyde Reed from Parsons, Kans.; Sharon Rockefeller, West Virginia; Charles Roll, Lawrenceville, N.J.; Gillian Sorensen, New York; and Louis Terrazas from San Antonio, Tex.
We would like to express our appreciation to the subcommittee for giving us this opportunity to testify on title VI of H.R. 3333, the Communications Act of 1979. We also extend our sincere appreciation to Chairman Van Deerlin, members of the subcommittee and staff for their work in drafting this important legislation governing the Nation's communications systems.
We have been proud to have helped contribute to this effort, particularly as it related to title VI. And we hope that in both our past testimony and in our comments today we have been helpful in your efforts to arrive at a final bill, one that will be accepted by the subcommittee, the Congress, the public broadcasting community and, of course, by the American people.
Since we appeared before this subcommittee last September to comment on H.R. 13015, a number of significant things have happened which may affect public broadcasting and the final shape and direction this legislation will take.
As you know, the past year has been one of change for the corporation. This has had a direct impact on both our day-to-day operations as well as how we perceive our policies, practices, and priorities and our role in the national public telecommunications community.
For example, we have had a chance to gage the impact of the new Public Telecommunications Financing Act of 1978 on both the corporation and on public broadcasting. That legislation has broadened our mission in developing telecommunications technologies.
It directs the corporation to assert leadership in program policy and planning. It enlarges public participation, access and openness responsibilities. It calls for open board meetings, financial management and accountability, volunteer services, community advisory bodies, equal employment opportunity and satellite access.
It contains provisions designed to make public broadcasting more responsible for public funds and more responsive to the local communities it serves. The new law makes important changes in the structure of Federal support.
It increases funds for domestic program production. It helps to extend public broadcasting to millions of Americans not now served and it underscores the insulation of program content from political control.
The Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting has released its report, “A Public Trust.” As you know, that report suggests a number of new approaches to financing public broadcasting and proposals for its structural reorganization. It contains recommendations covering public broadcasting's mission, its relationship to new technologies, public accountability, corporate underwriting, audience measurement, and minority involvement.
In March of this year the CPB board approved in principle a proposal for restructuring the corporation. As you know, Mr. Chairman, that restructuring would result in the creation of two separate units within the corporation-one dealing with management services including business, planning, and research, and the like, the other solely with programing. This restructuring, we believe, will encourage the production of high quality programs and increase the amount of money the corporation allocates to support those programs.
At the same time, it will protect program funding decisions with additional insulation. Those are the same laudable goals you and the members of this subcommittee are seeking to achieve through this new Communications Act. We have held extensive discussions with station managers and others in the public broadcasting community since March.
We have listened to their comments and incorporated many of their suggestions in a modified restructuring plan that our board today has adopted. This will require a great deal of work the next several months. This plan will become effective January 1980.
We are convinced that this two part structure, will improve the program funding procedure by creating a responsive, timely, and accessible mechanism for program support. By approving the proposal to restructure the corporation, the board of the corporation has underscored its commitment to increased and higher quality program services for all our citizens.
We believe that dividing CPB into two parts, one for management services and one for programing, is desirable and that by doing so we will be acting responsively to the wishes of the Congress and the needs of the American people.
All of us share the common goals that lie at the heart of the legislation we are addressing here today. Namely, the goal of improved and increased program support and the equally important
goal of improving methods of insulating public telecommunications from undue political and other outside influence.
President Fleming will deliver the balance of the corporation's testimony and will cover some of our specific concerns with title VI and the policy aspects that have significant implications for CPB.
Before he does, however, I would like to focus on an area of special concern that is not addressed by H.R. 3333. That is the area of training.
Over the years, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has contributed substantially to strengthening the local stations through promotion and research, by helping to fund programs and by assisting in a training program for station personnel.
Under the provisions of H.R. 3333, the endowment for program development would have no role in the training and professional development of public telecommunications personnel.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has increased its support for training grants dramatically over the past 3 years. CPB funding levels have increased from slightly more than one-half million dollars in 1977 to almost $142 million in 1979.
This has resulted in a nearly 50-percent increase in the number of minority and women training grant recipients. And, if we include the number of short-term, inservice training grants awarded by CPB, the number of public broadcasting professionals who have received support has nearly tripled in 3 years.
A number of grants have been made to staff members in State departments of education for inservice training in the important areas of instructional television utilization and the management of ITV department resources.
Short-term training has included such things as the Harvard University advanced management course, internships, exchange programs, and other opportunities for professional staff training and development. The corporation has also assisted in financing seminars, conferences, and workshops for training in special areas and disciplines.
These training grants are, of course, based on a 50-50 match between CPB and the station. This acts to insure that the station's investment in personnel development is equal to that of CPB's, a commitment of both dollars and to the value of increased professionalism.
Even with this requirement that stations match CPB money for training grants, CPB receives proposals from more qualified applicants in each grant round than there are grants to give out.
I believe that the development, training, and upgrading of public broadcasting's human resources is as important as improving and expanding its technical and program resources and that there is a special need to assist women and minorities.
I hope you and members of this subcommittee share that view and that whatever legislation finally emerges, the responsibility for support of training will be restored.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. Thank you, Mrs. Herndon. I note from your statement that the board this morning went beyond its original
action in endorsing the principle and it endorsed the specifics, which was the board action this morning.
Mrs. HERNDON. Yes, that is correct. Shortly before we came over here, we endorsed the plan. And it is the plan that we had shared
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. All right, thank you.
STATEMENT OF ROBBEN W. FLEMING Mr. FLEMING. Mr. Chairman and Mr. Collins, members of the staff, it is always a pleasure to come before you because somehow in the midst of these onerous hearings you always seem to manage to preserve a great equanimity and good humor throughout, so it is a pleasure to come down and talk with you on these occasions.
Mr. VAN DEERLIN. You provide a relief from some of the wit
Mr. FLEMING. I have been following your fans in the newspapers and I gather you have had some interesting conversations.
I am going to talk from, rather than read, my statement to you. [See p. 103.] The first two pages, in substance, tell you the contents of the act, with which you are familiar, more familiar than I, and I think I need not refresh your memory as to what is in there.
So, let me talk a little about our thoughts on some of the major features of H.R. 3333.
We have submitted a section-by-section analysis, which I take will be a part of the record. [See p. 116.]
So, let me proceed immediately to the comments.
Starting, of course, with the provision in the bill which abolishes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and replaces it with an endowment for program development, as we discussed. If we have some reluctance in commenting on this it is because what may be perceived as an obvious self-interest. But nevertheless as we thought about it, this is a board which has itself had a good deal of experience with the problems.
And it, therefore, seemed unwise, though it might be perceived as self-interest, not to at least try to convey to you what the board members think about that particular aspect of the bill.
It would appear from reading the language that by creating the endowment you are trying to accomplish two things: one is to make clear that the major purpose of the organization is to provide money for programing, as against other things, and, second, that what you are trying to do is better protect the members of that board from the outside influences which have always been a problem in this particular area.
If those are indeed the principal objectives which you are trying to achieve, then we would respectfully suggest that both of those objectives can really be achieved by some voluntary actions taken by the board itself within its present authority.
Now, there are changes that it cannot make, too. But as the chairman has already said, in its action this morning the board moved, (A) toward emphasizing programing and, (B) toward providing more insulation for that programing from any undue influences outside of the program unit itself.