||“I would like it very much if you would ask the Massachusetts Government to give some money to Channel Two,” she wrote, referring to WGBH, Boston’s non-commercial television station. “It does not get enough money because it doesn’t have advertisements. Channel Two might like to get some money from the government as long as the government will not tell Channel Two what to say.”
WGBH was one of the most well-funded stations in the country, producing hours of original programming. While there were a handful of other stations similar to WGBH, most areas of the country weren’t served by such robust non-commercial broadcasters.
Kennedy wrote back, saying that WGBH was already receiving some federal funding and promising that “the Federal government is able to assist the educational television facilities across the country without limiting or restricting their programming.” What he didn’t mention was that there was already a major effort underway to totally overhaul the country’s public television network.
Beginning in late 1965, the 15-member Carnegie Commission on Educational Television had been working began work to assemble a report that studied the state of noncommercial television and proposed mechanisms to improve the system with increased funding, improved technology, and revamped programming.
There was an “urgent need to project the requirements for the future if we are to meet educational, social and cultural demands. This will call for recommendations on not only the facilities and finances of educational television, but also the manpower and organization,” President Lyndon B. Johnson wrote in November 1965 in a letter to the board’s chair, former MIT president James R. Killian Jr.