Skip to Content

Public Television

Public Television stations exist in most areas of the country. These stations have few if any commercials and depend on their viewers for financial support.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) acts like a network for these stations. Most stations show children’s and educational programs during the day. In many areas, the stations show Spanish-language or bi-lingual programs for children.

Early evening public programming tends toward news and analysis programs.

Prime time on public is a mix of quality documentaries, performing arts, public affairs programs, and a great number of British-made dramatic, mystery and comedy series.

Public television was at one time completely devoid of commercials, although corporate sponsors were always prominently mentioned before or after each program. Sponsors now have short dignified commercial spots before or after programs, but never breaking into them as is the case with commercial television.

The down side to the absense of annnoying commercials on Public Television is the periodic funds drive. Spokespeople address viewers with endless requests to join the station as supporters, often receiving special gifts for higher levels of membership. This can be particularly annoying if one has already paid.

Next Section:Cable Television

American Culture: Chapter Home

Life in the USA Home Page.