Why Public Radio Was Created

by Laura Fedele
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This week marks the 45th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. It was the act of Congress that created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and led to the development of PBS and NPR. Here is some of what President Johnson said in his remarks before signing the Act:

"The message Samuel Morse sent to a friend after he invented the telegraph was, "What hath God wrought?"... Every one of us should feel that same sense of awe and wonderment here today... For today, miracles in communication are a daily routine...

"Today our problem is not making miracles but managing miracles. We might ponder a different question: what hath man wrought, and how will man use his inventions? The law that I will sign shortly offers one answer to that question. It announces to the world that our nation wants more than just material wealth; our nation wants more than a "chicken in every pot." We in America have an appetite for excellence, too. While we work every day to produce new goods and create new wealth, we want also to enrich man's spirit. That is the purpose of this act...

"What hath man wrought? And how will man use his miracles? The answer just begins with public broadcasting. So today we rededicate a part of the airwaves — which belong to all of the people — and we dedicate them for enlightenment of all of the people..."

- November 7, 1967

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