Television: The Latest Perils of PBS

Will a plan for pay TV shows save public broadcasting?

Since it was established twelve years ago, public television has lurched from one crisis to another. Each time it has not only survived but also emerged stronger than before, with better programming and more viewers. Now, however, public TV is confronted with a double threat: drastic budget cutbacks by the Reagan Administration and competition from rapidly proliferating private cable systems that are scouring the market for cultural programs. Last week the board of the Public Broadcasting Service voted to counter both with a bold and perhaps desperate plan: a profit-making pay TV...

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