TV Worth Blogging

WILL - TV Worth Blogging - February 14, 2014

When “PBS” Isn’t PBS (Part 1)

We have more than one (P-) head.

What we often call "PBS" is actually a variety of programming sources.

by David Thiel

PBS logo partially covered by other public television organization logos.

Among my (many) pet peeves: journalists who can’t tell the difference between “PBS” and “public television.” Every once in a while, I read a news article that cites “PBS officials” when talking about people who in no way work for the Public Broadcasting Service. I get that the U.S. public broadcast industry is complex, and that PBS is its most well-known brand, but it’s the job of reporters to clarify, not to further confuse. So, allow me to give it a whirl.

Unlike Disney, Comcast or Fox, the U.S. public television system isn’t a megalithic media conglomerate. It’s not even a network. It’s a loose collective of noncommercial, educational licensees operating more than 350 stations. And while the familiar “P-head” PBS logo is for many the face of that system, PBS is only part of the picture.