Culture and Recreation

Radio and Television

When was public broadcasting started?

In the United States it was started in 1967, when the Public Broadcasting Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson (1908–1973) on November 7, creating a Corporation for Public Broadcasting to broaden the scope of noncommercial radio and TV beyond its educational role. Within three years, and as a result of federal grants, plus funds from foundations, business, and private contributions, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) rivaled the Big Three networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC, for viewers.

In England the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) took control of the development of television in 1932, launching BBC-TV. The BBC had been founded as a radio broadcaster in 1922 under the leadership of English engineer John Charles Reith (1889–1971). Reith remained at the helm of the BBC for 16 years after its founding and under his guidance, it became one of Britain’s most revered institutions, supported by the public with license fees.


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