PBS: Five Things You Didn’t Know


On this date in 1970, The Public Broadcasting Service launched in the United States.

Here are some things you may not have known about PBS.

It’s not a network, per se. It’s a program distributor, which receives payment from its member stations in exchange for programs. The individual stations are responsible for producing local content. Because of this, PBS stations have greater flexibility regarding scheduling of network programs. PBS doesn’t produce any of the content it distributes.

PBS was founded to replace National Education Television, which was founded in 1952 by the Ford Foundation and was nicknamed the “University of the Air.” NET also began importing BBC programs into the U.S.

Some of the programs that began during the NET period include “Sesame Street,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Washington Week.”

Today PBS’ lineup is a diverse collection of programming, including art, science, history, drama, music and public affairs. Local stations also continue to air content imported from the United Kingdom and other parts   of the world.

There are 354 PBS member stations, including at least one in each state. No other television broadcaster has affiliates in all 50 states (the state that most networks are missing is New Jersey, which receives its commercial programming from stations in New York and Philadelphia).

For the past 13 years, PBS has been ranked as the most-trusted national institution. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed rated PBS as trustworthy. It was also ranked as the second best use of American tax dollars behind the military.

Our question: What year did “Sesame Street” go on the air?

Today is World Teachers Day. It’s also Constitution Day in Vanuatu, and Republic Day in Portugal.

It’s unofficially National Kale Day, National Storytelling Day, and International Walk to School Day.

It’s the birthday of Edith Ewing Beale, better known as Big Edie from the documentary “Grey Gardens,” who was born in 1895; McDonald’s executive Ray Kroc, who was born in 1902; and scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is 58.

This week in 1970, the top song in the U.S. was “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond.

The No. 1 movie was “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” while the novel “Love Story” by Erich Segal topped the New York Times Bestsellers list. In case you’re thinking to yourself that “Love Story” always seems to be the top book from 1970, there were in fact only three No. 1 best sellers that year. “Love Story” topped the charts for 34 weeks, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” was No. 1 for 12 weeks, and “The Godfather” led the way for 6 weeks.

Weekly question

Who originally coined the phrase “shot heard ’round the world” in 1837?



Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our website.

Also, if you’re enjoying the show, please consider supporting it through Patreon.com

Please rate the show on iTunes by clicking here.














Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.