Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

46 Federal Communications Law Journal 491 (1994)


The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 represented a major effort by the federal government to provide entertaining and enlightening programming unlike that being offered by major broadcasters. Central to this effort was the creation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), an independent corporation whose mission was to facilitate diversity, creativity, and innovation in noncommercial public broadcasting. It was to achieve this goal without engaging in content control over programming. However, members of Congress have expressed concern over the types of programming CPB was funding. As a result, Congress in 1992 directed the CPB to define national programming standards for public broadcasting. The CPB was also directed to monitor stations' compliance with these standards and to condition future grant receipts on adequate compliance. The Author argues that CPB's enforcement of these programming standards infringes on the local stations' freedom of speech and restricts their ability to program for their local communities. The Author argues that CPB's role should be to provide grants for national programming to fill the gaps in the services offered by public broadcasting entities rather than dictate a national standard for programming.