Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: September 11, 2009

We were thrilled to have a visit yesterday with the new COO of PBS, Michael Jones and Senior VP Joyce Herring. They toured our facilities and we had sessions with our managers and senior staff. Given what we heard, there will be a new strategic plan for PBS shortly and it may change the organization remarkably. I also wanted to post the following written by PBS President Paula Kerger and extremely relevant to children and the digital media world:

By Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS:

Keeping pace with the digital revolution is no easy task. Policymakers must come to grips with the impact of sweeping and fast-paced technological changes on a daunting array of issues. On the vital issue of children’s education, it appears that this Congress has begun to take up the challenge.
Recently the Senate Commerce Committee and Julius Genachowski, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, took an important first step in reviewing the state of the Children’s Television Act in the digital age.
Passed in 1990, the act was designed to assure the creation and distribution of quality educational programming for the medium’s youngest viewers. The act mandated that broadcasters offer a minimum of three hours of educational and informational children’s programming per week.
The law addressed advertising limits on children’s programming as well, with the intent of reducing commercialization in programming.
In addressing the need to modernize the legislation, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) framed the issue: “Our media landscape has changed dramatically during the last two decades … How do we take these values and apply them to the very different media universe our children know today?”
Rockefeller cited a digital world where the TV screen is fusing with the computer screen, where cable channels have multiplied and young people view programming over mobile phones.
In testifying before Congress, Chairman Genachowski was clear: “Guarding against inappropriate marketing to children is as vital as it was 20 years ago.”
We need to establish new policies to ensure that commercial and marketing interests do not take precedence over the welfare of our children. The imperative is to monitor the tidal wave of content that has become available on cable, satellite, mobile devices, video games and the Internet.
PBS will continue to play its role as both a standard-bearer and innovator in children’s programming. At present, more than 350 PBS stations offer a minimum of 35 hours per week of free educational and informational offerings for kids.
Educational media can make a difference. A new study ascertained that watching the PBS series “SUPERWHY!” helped children with poor reading ability improve their literacy skills to match those of children with more resources. Children from low-income families who watched as few as two episodes of the series scored 46 percent higher on standardized tests than those who did not watch the program.
The challenge here is much more than bringing the Children’s Television Act into the 21st century. It is to maintain the intent and spirit of the original legislation: to put the interests of children first.

  • tigersgrowl

    I never knew about that. Had I known, I would have listened to local radio because my data is capped within the first week due to all the 3G radio I listen to. This will be a great help however, I use the Kyrocera Event (don’t laugh, it was only $20 and I got a mortgage) with the Virgin Mobile service using the Sprint network. I contacted Virgin just now, we’ll have to see if they give me the run around as expected with most phone companies or not. If they do, I won’t give up there, I will consult the blogs and forums. If there is a way, I will find it.

    • Jessie

      @tigersgrowl, I also have Virgin Mobile and they use the Sprint network. I will call them also, but I would really appreciate if you post your updates.

  • Yoga Bear

    “I want my FM Radio! Unlock the FM chip in all smartphones you sell so I can get important emergency information when data networks are unavailable and reduce the amount of data I use each month.

    Thank you. I have a HTC one m7 I have looked and the phone has a FM chip and I have Verizon I have called there tech support and they told me all I need to do is find a radio app, you can’t find one that will work without the net, theses company’s just lies to get you off the phone, so I called HTC by the way Verizon told me not to do that, so me being one not to do what I’m told lol I called any ways, HTC told me that they will be updating to lollipop in a few months and then they’re going to come out with the update that send you a FM radio to your phone that they have been working on it for several months without any support from Verizon Wireless so they’ve taken it on their self to go ahead and make a program to turn on the FM chip so that it will work so that we can have free FM radio on our smartphones, we will see. I’ll give them two months if they don’t do it I’m calling back.

    • Joseph Ogidan

      I had a Nokia phone back in 2008 that had a radio. All I needed to activate it was my head phone, and it worked perfectly well.

  • jeremiah stansbury

    please its our rite we paid for the phone why cant we have fm radio it wont cost you any thing to keep the public informed

  • callthemanufacture

    you’re provider has nothing to do with this they do not make the phones so be sure to call the manufacture the provider does not have a way to unlock this so don’t blame them and give more information on fm chips besides call your provider

    • Irwin Busk

      You are very incorrect. The provider orders the phone with their preferred software load, and with certain features and applications locked. The carrier can provide an “unlock” code, but is not required to by law. many will do so, if you are near the end of your contract.

  • sm spfld ma

    Radio is not a right. I’m all for the chip being activated but come on. npr is using you to push their agenda and getting this activated. It’s a scarf tactic. We all got text messages from the weather service when the tornado was on its way to western ma. Say you did have a radio on the phone then; how many people would put the radio on? I Google the tornado then and got the info I needed. Don’t be fools: you’re bejng used by public radio cronies to get more people to listen to PUBLIC RADIO. It’s a cheap marketing initiative.

    • Mrpockets

      If you are all about activating the chip then why are you urging people not to ask for it? Sure it’s an agenda. Everyone has an agenda. For all we know, you could hold a bunch of stock in Pandora and are pushing your own agenda by trying to make people feel stupid for wanting access to something that they’ve always had. That’s what you sound like to me.

  • Floyd Durham

    I just contacted Virgin and they claimed to have no knowledge of any of this. I was told that basically it probably not real and that just because it says so on the internet it doesn’t mean anything. They don’t want people using it then they loose money for data use….Like the owner of Virgin needs more money..lol

  • Byron Edgington

    What a wonderful, warm and kind human being. Fred Rogers will always be my hero. When my daughter Amanda was four, her grandmother (my mother) died, and ‘Manda was bereft at losing her. She decided to write to her TV friend, ‘Mikkah Rogers.’ The letter went in the mail, and a month later, Amanda received a warm, understanding letter from Fred Rogers. In the letter, he wrote as he spoke on TV, a show Amanda wouldn’t miss for the world. He said the very same people who are glad sometimes are the very same people who are sad sometimes. He told my daughter how sad he was for her loss, and he signed the letter, ‘Your friend, Mister Rogers.’ Amanda still has the letter. It’s one of her cherished possessions. The world needs more people like my hero, Fred Rogers.