Office of Cultural Education

Educational Television & Public Broadcasting

Frequently Asked Question

Questions

  1. How are public television and public radio funded in New York State?
  2. I’ve been hearing the term USNY. Is it the same as SUNY?
  3. What is the difference between PBS and commercial television?
  4. Why do I see auctions on my PBS channel?
  5. What’s the difference between "underwriting" and commercial sponsorship?
  6. What channel is PBS on?
  7. Why can’t I see a program in Buffalo at the same time it’s on in Albany?
  8. Is PBS really educational?
  9. Can I show PBS programs in my daycare setting?
  10. What does Video on Demand really mean?
  11. What is high definition TV?
  12. What is "podcasting"?
  13. What is "RSS"?
  14. How can I get a DVD of a program I enjoyed?
  15. Are there any jobs or internships available in public television or radio?
  16. I have a program idea - how can I get it produced?
  17. How can I support my public television or radio station?
  18. How can I volunteer for public television or radio?

Answers

  1. How are public television and public radio funded in New York State?

    New York’s public television and public radio stations receive roughly half their funding from contributions and memberships. Additional funding comes from grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the New York State Department of Education, and other grantors. Program and production underwriting and sales of books and videos account for additional support.

    The New York State Office of Educational Television and Public Broadcasting oversees the distribution of $14 million (FY15) in State funding to nine New York public television stations and 17 public radio stations. The non-profit corporations owning these stations' licenses are chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, making the New York State public broadcasting stations partners in the University of the State of NY (USNY). Each corporation is governed by a locally elected Board of Trustees.

    Detailed information on support and revenues for individual stations is available on the web sites of each television and radio station. You can find your local public television station, or find your local public radio station on this site.

  2. I’ve been hearing the term USNY. Is it the same as SUNY?

    USNY is the University of the State of New York. USNY is the most complete interconnected system of educational services in the United States. USNY includes:

    • more than 7,000 public and private elementary and secondary schools;
    • 248 public and private colleges and universities;
    • 251 proprietary (for-profit) schools;
    • nearly 7,000 libraries;
    • 750 museums;
    • the State Archives;
    • vocational rehabilitation and other services for adults with disabilities;
    • special education services for pre-school and school-age children and teenagers;
    • a special School for the Blind;
    • a special School for the Deaf;
    • 25 public broadcasting facilities, including seven public television stations;
    • more than half a million professionals practicing in 38 licensed professions, including pharmacy, architecture, accounting, and nursing; and
    • 200,000 certified public school teachers, counselors, and administrators.

    SUNY is the State University of New York. It is the State's system of public colleges and universities. While the SUNY system is among the 248 colleges and universities included in The University of the State of New York, SUNY is a separate and distinct organization with its own administration.

  3. What is the difference between PBS and commercial television?

    PBS is a non-profit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 348 public television stations. PBS operates in the public interest by serving the needs of its member stations and is a trusted community resource. PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight.

  4. Why do I see auctions on my PBS channel?

    From April through June, numerous public television stations across the country present live, televised auctions. These provide a means for local businesses and station viewers to offer and bid on items and services as a way of lending support to their local public television station.

  5. What’s the difference between "underwriting" and commercial sponsorship?

    Underwriting provides a means for corporations and other third parties to contribute to the financing and support of Public Broadcasting programming. Federal law requires that those who help pay for a broadcast be disclosed on the air at the time of the broadcast; therefore, all program underwriters are identified at the time of broadcast.

    Underwriting credits must adhere to strict guidelines, and companies that underwrite public broadcasting programming must accept limitations placed by the Federal Communications Commission and PBS on what they can and can’t say in their credits - far less than what they can say on commercial television. Underwriting credits may never interrupt a program and must be in keeping with the noncommercial nature of public television. Underwriters are precluded from having any editorial control or participation in the production of programs.

    Commercial sponsorship on commercial television, or advertising, is under none of these restrictions. Commercial advertising may promote products and may use promotional conventions such as direct comparison with other companies, price information, superlative description or qualitative claims, calls to action, inducements to buy and demonstrations of consumer satisfaction and credits. Commercial advertisements may interrupt programs.

    The following web sites may provide more information on underwriting of public broadcasting programming:

  6. What channel is PBS on?

    PBS is broadcast via local member stations. Click here to find your local PBS television station.

  7. Why can’t I see a program in Buffalo at the same time it’s on in Albany?

    Each member station schedules programming independently. Viewers need to contact their local station External Link Icon directly for information on program schedules.

  8. Is PBS really educational?

    PBS provides the highest-quality documentaries, arts, children's and news and public affairs programming. In primetime, PBS presents signature series like Frontline External Link Icon, American Experience External Link Icon, NOVA External Link Icon, Nature External Link Icon and American Masters External Link Icon, as well as a wide range of high-profile miniseries and specials. PBS Ready To Learn External Link Icon provides hours of award-winning children's programming every day.

    In addition to broadcasting high quality educational programs, each New York State public television station has an education services department that works with the schools, community organizations and families in its region through workshops, professional development and interactive websites to educate and enrich the lives of the residents in the region.

  9. May I show PBS programs in my child care setting?

    Yes! PBS provides the highest-quality children's programming. The PBS Ready To Learn Service External Link Icon, provides hours of award-winning children's programming every day. New York State’s public broadcasting stations offer a variety of interactive programming designed to help children learn from pre-K through grade 12. For programs and schedules, consult your local member station (link here to "Find Your Local Public Television Station").

  10. What does "Video on Demand" really mean?

    Video on demand means that you can see the movies, television programs, and other video products you want to see when you want to see them. And you can download them to a multitude of devices so you can watch them at convenient moments in convenient places.

    Upstate New York public television stations provide a free video on demand service to schools in New York State called PBS Learning Media New York .

  11. What is high definition TV?

    High definition television, or HDTV, allows stations to broadcast programs in much higher resolution or clarity than standard television. Viewers at home can receive high-quality, crystal-clear pictures. These visually stunning pictures, with more than twice the resolution and clarity of standard television, are displayed in a wide screen format with a 16-by-9 width-to-height ratio compared to analog's 4-by-3, or basically square, format. And because HDTV is digital, audiences have the benefit of six-channel CD-quality "surround sound." In other words, viewers can enjoy a true home theater experience.

  12. What is "podcasting"?

    Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio programs or music videos, over the internet using either the RSS or Atom syndication formats, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term podcast, like 'radio,' External Link Icon can mean both the content and the method of delivery. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. Podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download External Link Icon or streaming External Link Icon of their files; a podcast however is distinguished by its ability to be downloaded automatically using software capable of reading RSS or Atom feeds.

    Usually a podcast features one type of 'show,' with new episodes released either sporadically or at planned intervals such as daily or weekly. In addition, there are podcast networks that feature multiple shows on the same feed.

    To get audio feeds, users simply connect their MP3 player to their computer, go online, and subscribe to feeds they want the podcasting service to provide. To some, podcasting is one of the most exciting innovations to come along in quite a while, opening up an endlessly varied universe of audio content to anyone who wants it at any time.

  13. What is "RSS"?

    RSS is a family of web feed External Link Icon formats. RSS is used by (among other things) news Web sites, External Link Iconweblogs External Link Icon and podcasting. External Link Icon Web feeds provide web content or summaries of web content together with links to the full versions of the content, and other metadata. External Link Icon

    RSS, in particular, delivers this information as an XML External Link Icon file called an RSS feed, webfeed, RSS stream, or RSS channel. In addition to facilitating syndication, web feeds allow a website's frequent readers to track updates on the site and download to a computer or other device.

  14. How can I get a DVD of a program I enjoyed?

    Local member stations offer DVD’s and other formats of many favorite PBS programs. To find out what’s available and how to order, consult your local public television station. Many (though not all) programs may be watched online for free or through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon (these three services are fee-based).

  15. Are there any jobs or internships available in public television or radio?

    Consult your local public television station or local public radio station for information on jobs or internships.

    You may also wish to contact PBS at www.pbs.org External Link Icon or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting at www.cpb.org. External Link Icon

  16. I have a program idea - how can I get it produced?

    Program proposals may be submitted to PBS Programming Services. Submissions should be addressed to PBS Program Scheduling & Editorial Management, 2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. Information for producers of independent films is available online at Producing for PBS.External Link Icon

    Note that PBS is a membership organization that provides national programming, distribution and technical services to member stations. PBS does not produce programs but will work with experienced producers who are capable of managing all aspects of a project's development and production.

    You may also wish to contact the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, non-profit corporation located at 901 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004, 202/879-9600 or via the Internet at www.cpb.org. External Link Icon CPB also funds television and radio programs produced by public broadcasters and independent producers.

    You may also wish to contact your local PBS member station for information on its production resources.

  17. How can I support my public television or radio station?

    You can support your local public television or radio station by becoming a contributing member or by volunteering. For details, contact your local public television station or local public radio station.

  18. How can I volunteer for public television or radio?

    To find out how you can volunteer, contact your local public television station or local public radio station.

Last Updated: September 8, 2014