Public Broadcasting Service History

Since it was founded in late 1969, the Public Broadcasting System has provided excellent viewer content to all 50 U.S. states, Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa. PBS has evolved over the past four decades to try and stay in tune with the new modes of mass- media; while still remaining a place for educational, cultural, scientific and historical content that is safe for all ages to view.

When PBS was founded in late 1969, it took over the different functions of the National Educational Television its predecessor. In 1972, closed captioning for the hearing impaired was pioneered by PBS. A PBS station in Chicago, in 1975, became one of the first stations to use stereo in its broadcasting.

Before October of 1989 donations given to PBS from their viewers were recognized contributions as being from an individual station like WXYZ. After October of 1989 all the text for the contribution showed was Public Television Stations. In 1994, an industry publication, The Chronicle of Philanthropy released results from a study of non-profit and charitable organizations credibility and popularity. The study, one of the largest of its kind, showed that the Public Broadcasting System was ranked 11th out of over 100 charities as most popular nonprofit/charity in America.

In 1995, it became one of the first major TV broadcasters to launch a website online. It launched the first all-digital broadcast facility in the entire U.S. It launched video players in 2009 on its website that offered hours of programming free for all audiences including preschoolers and older.

In December of 2009, PBS signed on for the Nielsen ratings audience measure for the first time in the system's history. Throughout the last 40 plus years, PBS has been bringing content to the people of America to fulfill their goal of educating the public. That goal is achieved on a daily basis both through the television and on-line media.


NOTE: Information on this site is not guaranteed to be accurate. Some content is compiled from 3rd party sources. If you are aware of incorrect or outdated information, feel free to contact us.

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