I know they they have to raise money. I contribute every year. But when they run shows and spend more time asking for money than they do actually running the show it REALLY pisses me off. Case in point - they aired a Simon and Garfunkel documentary the other night that hadn’t been shown since 1969 (and only once, then) or something. Here is something that hasn’t been aired in 40+ years and PBS ruined any enjoyment that could had. It was pretty good for the first 15 minutes but then they cut to begging. How many times do you need to tell me what I can get by donating a certain amount? I wish I had a stopwatch on it but the commercial was as long as the portion of “show” that proceeded it. It was so irritating that at the second break I just gave up and turned it off. It was far worse than watching regular commercial TV. At least then you have an idea of when the show is going to start again. Somebody at PBS needs to recalculate how much crap their viewers are willing to put up with.

I put up with it because for the 95% of the year that they’re not pledging, I can enjoy a whole host of programming sans commercials. I listen to MPR almost every day and they’re in the middle of a pledge drive right now that is driving me insane. I don’t want to hear another goddamn thing about Sarah from Prior Lake. But I know that in a few days it will be over and they’ll be back to nothing but music and a little banter. If I didn’t have this option, if commercial radio and television were all I had, then I would spend a far greater chunk of my time in a slow burn as opposed to a high-grade frustration once in a great while.

Did they play all their hits? “The Wrangling Conversation”? “El Donor Paga (If You Could)”? “The Big Bright Green Pledger Machine”?

I prefer Think of Everything We’d Lose if Not For the Generosity of Our Viewers. Mostly outdated British sitcoms.

like they say where else are you going to see it?

from my experience they might take a hour show and run it as a 80 or 90 minute pledge thing.

if the pledge drive is successful some places might rebroadcast some select popular stuff, like music, after the drive without pledge breaks. so if it got them money you might get to see it later unbroken.

I stopped watching PBS a long time ago and don’t miss it. Maybe it was the phone calls and mail that told me I was stealing if I watched PBS without paying or maybe it was the callers who claimed to be friends of my wife, only to find out they were begging for money. Or maybe it was the poor quality reruns they show, with a rare good documentary thrown in during pledge week. Turn it off, you won’t miss it. PBS was great when I only had 3 channels, now I have something like 300. I’m sure one of them could fit in a quality show if PBS wasn’t around.

I often wonder if PBS would need public funding if they would show regular commercials? Frankly commercials are less annoying than pledge week.


I’m afraid no one would watch them, then. :wink:

I quit watching PBS because of ‘Pledge Week’; who needs a new tote bag every year?

One hour each for Nova, Frontline and The American Experience, but otherwise cooking and home improvement and junk appraisal for the self-congratulatory middle class.

That’s the beleaguered middle class. Haven’t you been watching the debates?

Don’t they just fundraise one week a year? Seems like you could just not watch PBS for seven days and avoid the frustration.

I shudder to think how Americans could get along in life without Are You Being Served?, which is perhaps one of the top 100 best sitcoms ever produced by the BBC.

I fully support this pitting, 30 years ago. Now the begging is just part of the game. Frankly, I don’t know what they do with the money anyway. All of their original programming seems to have corporate sponsors already.

What makes it worse is that PBS does show commercials now. It started years ago with the “this program was brought to you by. . .” As the years went by that corporate sponsorship message became longer and more like a typical commercial. Now they are full blown commercials, similar and sometimes exactly the same as those on regular TV. The only difference between PBS and other channels are the placement of those commercials. The shows arent interrupted, but you have to wait through 15 minutes of commercials between shows. Of course NBC and A&E don’t call me at home and beg mefor money, nor do they do pathetic telethons that interrupt a months worth of programming. It is time for PBS to go full commercial or just die. The quality shows would be picked up by any of the hundreds of cable channels anyway.

there isn’t 15 minutes of underwriting between shows.

cable is not available to all people even if they want it. cable isn’t affordable to all people even it was available.

Before Are You Being Served?, PBS had Benny Hill. I got to see my first naked tits on TV via Benny Hill reruns. Who says PBS isn’t educational?

Other educational programs included Monty Python and I Clavdivs.

How much does PBS bring in during pledge week? What if instead of a pledge drive with begging between Simon and Garfunkel they sold commercial time? That would work, and there would be minimal impact on overall programming. There might be a bit of tailoring closer to pledge week–better shows bring in more viewers, more viewers means larger donations from corporations to buy ad-time. The likely increased revenue would actually bolster year-round programming, as budgets increased.

Actually, there’s even a great model already in existence. I know it’s bad form to link to hard-right sites, but I believe this one illustrates the point very well (and thoroughly illuminates the sarcasm of my post):
How the Privatization of NASA’s The Learning Channel devolved into a for-profit channel pushing Honey Boo Boo

Mmmm, clamdip.