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This Day in History - 11.7.2011

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967: PBS, NPR and…Mr. Rogers to the Stand?

By Faleta B. Delaney

On November 7, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 which set up public broadcasting in the United States and thus established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Eventually, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the National Public Radio (NPR) were born out of this act.

The historical significance of this act was tested when it had to defend its need for funding in a series of 1969 hearings.  These hearings are often remembered for the appearance of Fred Rogers, host of the one and only, Mister Roger's Neighborhood. See original footage of his testimony in defense of the CPB here.

Today, public broadcasting still has to fight to ensure it receives necessary funding, but has so far proven its worth. Thanks to the groundwork laid by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, non-commercial broadcasters in both radio and television are now considered respected providers of news and information.