Paula Kerger: PBS head fights off Romney attack, says network shouldn’t take ads

PBS president Paula Kerger addressed journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.

While stumping for votes recently, presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for an end to federal funding for PBS, suggesting that commercials air during “Sesame Street” and support the content instead. “I like PBS,” he said. “We’re not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird’s going to have advertisements, all right?”

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger addressed Romney’s remarks when she met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Wednesday — after touting the network’s recent successes and increased viewership thanks to programs like “Downton Abbey.” “I’m glad that [Romney] said that he likes public broadcasting,” she began. “What we hope to do is to make it clear that we have broad support from the American public.”

Kerger, who acknowledged difficult decisions will have to be made during tough economic times, said PBS “has always had bipartisan support,” thanks in large part to an “effective public/private partnership.” In aggregate, the government funds only 15 percent of the PBS budget — “that’s $1.35 per person per year,” she said. But that percentage is vital to making public broadcasting available to smaller, more rural stations. “Public broadcasting provides an important source of information for many communities,” Kerger said. “That money can not be made up.”

As for Romney’s suggestion of introducing advertisements into PBS programming, Kerger made one critical point: “We have restrictions through the FCC. We can’t just take ads.” But even if running ads didn’t violate regulations, turning PBS into a commercial broadcaster would fundamentally change programming, as the network would be forced to woo ad dollars. Some in government have suggested the network take cues from successful, educational commercial networks like History.

“Congress has said maybe you can learn from this, but ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘American Pickers’ is not the same as ‘American Experience’ and Ken Burns,” Kerger said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.