Many people have heard the term “public broadcasting,” and even more have actually consumed the news, education, or entertainment content delivered via public broadcasting channels. And yet, the definition of public broadcasting – and how it began – isn’t quite common knowledge.
What is Public Broadcasting?
Public broadcasting is a general umbrella term used to describe electronic media outlets that are primarily founded for the sake of public service.
Public broadcasting can be operated on a national, state, or local scale. In some countries, there is just one organization in charge of all public broadcasting. In others, there are various public broadcasting organizations that may operate in certain regions/languages.
The “opposite” of public broadcasting is commercial broadcasting, which privately-owned corporations facilitate.
How Does Public Broadcasting Work?
Depending on where you are in the world, the funding for public broadcasting is usually provided by the government. The money generated from the annual fees the government charges for receivers is one source of funding.
Public broadcasting aims to provide widespread access to informational and educational content for both adults and children. For example, PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) is a nationwide provider of content that receives federal funding for production, then distributes the shows to local stations across the U.S. These local stations often receive some funding from state and local taxes. Suppose you’ve ever seen or heard your local public broadcasting station run a telethon to raise money. In that case, it is because federal funding is not necessarily enough to cover the full costs of operation.
Donations from viewers/listeners can often significantly support public broadcasting channels, especially those who receive only limited local funding. If you do choose to donate to public broadcasting, your donation is typically tax-deductible – which is definitely good to know!
The History of Public Broadcasting
So, when did public broadcasting start? The concept was first introduced in the 1920s when the city of London devised it as a way to keep citizens informed during World War I. The first public broadcast stations didn’t have a very strong range, and only a few actually played around the clock. Generally, the stations only played when there were updates available from the British government.
In the 1940s, the United States made broadcasting history when it adopted a non-commercial, educationally-focused public broadcast station. Stations such as PBS and MPB (American Public Television), as well as government-specific stations NASA TV and the Pentagon Channel, were all started by the U.S. federal government.
Types of Public Broadcasting Stations
Today, there are many different public broadcasting stations in the United States. The most well-known is PBS, as well as NPR (National Public Radio).
There are also a variety of locally-owned independent stations that receive public broadcast content to share with viewers. Additionally, all public access stations on local cable TV are considered to be a part of public broadcasting.
Broadcasting Today Combines Tradition and Technology
Some people assume that radio will eventually become obsolete, but industry insiders, media enthusiasts, and broadcasting professionals all know that’s far from fact. Actually, radio has proven to be exceptionally adaptable, evolving in so many different ways.
Now, we can experience broadcasting in so many different forms: there are the traditional mediums of radio and TV, now joined by streaming content, live online shows, podcasting, and more. Instead of fading into the background of news, entertainment, and society, broadcasting has actually expanded its presence.
What does this mean for individuals considering a career in broadcasting? Ultimately, there are more opportunities than ever before. It’s now possible to build a career that focuses on a highly specialized medium or subject area, giving you more freedom to be creative, innovative, and successful.
Find Out How to Get a Broadcasting Job You Love
Whether your career dreams involve public broadcasting or another part of the world of media, breaking into the industry can be a challenge. But when you’re equipped with specialized training, experience, and passion, you’ll be ready to rise above the competition.
At the BeonAir Network of Media Schools, with campuses located in Miami, Chicago, Colorado, and Ohio, students can choose from a broad range of programs to launch their future careers. Our Radio & TV Broadcasting program can be an outstanding fit for your goals and dreams. Or, you may discover that Sports Broadcasting, Digital Media Production, or Audio Production is the right match – here, you have such a variety of choices, it’s easy to blaze your own trail.
If you’re ready to dive headfirst into a fulfilling future career, we’d love to welcome you to one of our media school campuses. Get more information about enrollment, program features, and more when you contact us today!
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