Last week Paula Kerger, President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service, discussed the future of public broadcasting and PBS in the current, fractured, media environment where broadcast spectrum reallocation is under serious consideration. Ms. Kerger appeared on a Broadband US TV webcast live from the floor of FOSE, the government information technology conference and expo in Washington, D.C. Kerger, who was interviewed by Broadband US TV co-hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group, discussed the importance of widespread and affordable broadband access as well as the significance of over-the-air broadcasting for, according to Kerger, the 45 million Americans who continue to rely on broadcast reception to receive local TV stations.
Touching upon the current funding crunch faced by many public media sources following the recent economic downturn (Kerger said that about 15% of PBS funding comes from the Federal government), the conversation moved the contentious issue of spectrum reallocation. Ms. Kerger noted PBS member stations’ early use of spectrum for multicasting as well as public safety and indicated that her organization would continue to watch the Congressional spectrum debate closely. When asked to discuss the future of public broadcasting over the next decade, Ms. Kerger emphasized the increased use of multiple platforms by viewers to access PBS programming, in particular mobile applications, and the need for public media to adapt to new technologies and opportunities.
The full interview may be seen here (Registration required).