Our Past and Our Future

Dear Friends,

Last month we launched our annual member and viewer survey. This poll is one of the ways we can understand what you value most about SOPTV’s programs and services. So please take this opportunity to share your thoughts with us. The survey is on the back page of the May issue of Inside SOPTV and is also online at www.soptv.org/survey. Get your reply in by June 10.

The other day a member stopped by and left an article from the August 1963 Ladies Home Journal, which had an article entitled “Television’s Fascinating Fourth Network.” Hard to imagine there were once only four television networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and the then National Educational Television Network or NET.

At the time NET was a loose confederation of independent “educational” stations, many of which began in the 1950s. These stations were located in large urban areas, and many were affiliated with schools and colleges. Locally SOPTV began serving the Rogue Valley as Southern Oregon Education Company in 1978. Soon we will be 40!

It was not until 1967 President Lyndon Baines Johnson (himself a broadcaster) signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, which led to the formation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, all of which exist today.

Dr. Frank Stanton, then president of CBS in the ’60s acknowledged that “educational television may in time prove to be a boon to network programming in new talent, new ideas, and new forms, which only experimentation free of commercial pressures can produce.” The article includes numerous references to the NET stations’ program schedules: arts, children’s programming, public affairs and science programming, and dramatic imports from the BBC. All continue today as distinctive pillars of our service.

As we look to the future, education is at the root of what we do. The reason we succeed is because learning is the bedrock of a civilized society. It begins before birth and ends only at death. For the child, learning is the key to future success. For the older person, it is the fountain of youth. This uniquely human aspiration allows us to benefit from the lessons of history, accept opinions and beliefs that differ from our own, and connect us to other people, places, and cultures. Today we are still TV’s “fascinating network.”
Thanks for the work we do together,

Mark Stanislawski
President & CEO

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