PBS exex commit to info, education

With all the talk about an explosion of specialty channels in the future, PBS officials say public television’s best strategy will be to provide a variety of programming, with an emphasis on education and information.

PBS executives, kicking off the Winter Television Critics Assn. tour, said the service must “remain committed to (the) educational and informational value of programming,” according to exec VP of programming Jennifer Lawson.

She added that PBS remained heartened that the audience for like-themed cable channels such as Discovery and Arts & Entertainment remains “quite miniscule” compared to PBS, which averaged little better than a two rating in primetime.

Another major aspect of PBS is children’s programming, with the service to launch its PTV: Ready to Learn Service on 11 pilot stations in July, upping its daily commitment by about 50%, to nine hours a day of children’s programming.

Officials also announced that PBS has donated its entire program archives to the Library of Congress.

New president-CEO Ervin Duggan is still winding up his tenure with the FCC, and won’t begin at the service until Feb. 1. PBS’ national program policy committee will meet Thursday and Friday in Alexandria, Va., to discuss PBS’ National Program Service and evaluate the just-completed year.

Additional meetings of PBS’ board will be held Jan. 21-23 in Tucson, Ariz.

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