GratiTuesday: My Public Broadcasting Stations


The annual membership renewal notice for our local public broadcasting station came in the mail the other day. My husband and I have discussed our current contribution level and I think this will be the year we increase it substantially.

We usually begin our day listening to our local National Public Radio (NPR) station and, in the evening, we often watch the Public Broadcasting Station’s (PBS) NewsHour to catch up on the day’s news. When I’m driving around in my car, my radio might as well be permanently fixed on NPR because I rarely listen to anything else. In addition, we watch many of the quality shows our local PBS station broadcasts in the evening such as Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Masterpiece Theater, and anything Ken Burns produces.

Yesterday, while I was in my car running a few errands, I listened to an in-depth report on climate change, a security technologist discussing the growing threat that hacking poses, and a fascinating story about the three months Leon Trotsky spent in New York City in late 1916, early 1917. I didn’t have to put up with inane chatter or people yelling at each other, vapid commercials weren’t assaulting my ears, and I didn’t hear the same few songs played over and over again.

When I listen to NPR or watch PBS, I am always entertained and I usually learn something new; sometimes the topics are already of great interest to me and sometimes the subjects weren’t even on my radar. Either way, I always get something out of the time I spend watching or listening to this most valuable public resource.

I am so grateful for public television and radio and the diverse programs and services that are available to inform, educate, enlighten, and enrich us all. Public broadcasting stations are operated as private not-for-profit corporations and partially rely on contributions by their listeners.

I am also grateful for those who support public broadcasting.

If you haven’t given your local public broadcasting station a try, tune in sometime and see if what they offer is of value to you.

If you do watch or listen – or both – but are not yet a member, consider joining. Your support will help ensure the continued success of smart, thoughtful programming.

If you are already a member: fabulous! If you can, think about upping your level of support. Also, please consider including your local station in your estate planning so that future generations can enjoy this valuable resource too.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

41 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: My Public Broadcasting Stations”

  1. And I’m grateful for this post. It caught me in the middle of trying to decide which of the FOUR senior lobbying organizations is going to get some money from me. But you’re right — I listen to NPR at least once a day while going from hither and yon, and I should include them in the mix too. And now I shall… Well done, Janis.

  2. You summed that up really well, Janis. When we drive for a while (to and from Acadia for example), Mark turns the radio on, which is always on NPR. The only time I hate it is when I am trying to catch up with my diary or write an email on my iPad and the talking is totally distracting, especially when it is an interesting topic! 🙂

  3. I so rarely watch PBS … it sounds like I should change that. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

    Our public broadcasting – CBC Radio and CBC TV – are government funded and their budgets are always challenged.

    1. I would imagine that CBC offers many of the same shows? It’s great that it is government funded, but then the funds can be cut on a whim. Our public broadcasting is funded by a combination of government, foundations, corporations, and viewers. Hopefully that combination will keep it strong.

      1. I think PBS and the CBC have quite different programming.
        The CBC has had to follow Canadian-content requirements since the early 70s.
        Although widely criticized at the time, in hindsight it has been a catalyst for the development of Canadian talent and programming and their subsequent explosion internationally.
        Ironically, there is now a hue-and-cry because those same content laws are threatened by the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
        I think the current requirements are 60% Canadian content (which is specifically defined), of which 50% has to be during prime time.

  4. I rarely tune into PBS either (but in my defense I am not much of a TV or radio person). You do however give a very convincing argument! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. If everyone who watched and loved Downton Abbey also contributed to their public broadcasting station, they would now be awash with funds! I think a lot of people take the quality offerings for granted and don’t think about becoming a member.

  5. I have long been a contributor to both of the PBS stations in my state. But I really hate it when one of them interrupts the children’s programming with begging for money. Children do not care for this and I am betting that most parents are not going to stop what they are doing to call in a pledge. I told my local station that I would double my yearly contribution when they stop this practice. Until then, I will send that money to the other station that is two hours away from me but has enough sense to only beg during the evening hours. I do love PBS programming.

  6. Janis, well done. This where the best information can be found. The other benefit is when surveyors call to ask where you get your news and you tell them NPR and PBS, they hang up. You are more informed and there are no commercials to influence you. Keith

    1. I encourage you to give it a listen! Although, I wouldn’t classify most of what is on NPR during the weekdays as “infotainment.” The reports are intelligent, well-researched, and in-depth. So different from what we normally get from the media. I would guess that most people who listen do so to educate themselves, not to entertain themselves.

  7. I am totally dependent on public radio for my news and information. Although I watch television news in the evening at 5, 6, and 10, it is mostly repetitions of less-than-vital “human interest” stories and superficial coverage of important national and international stores. With MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) and NPR, there is nothing superficial. I eagerly consume the in-depth coverage and wide variety. As a Downton Abbey fan, I watched religiously every short season, and then the reruns as well. I’ve been a member of my public radio and public TV stations for many years. Highly recommend membership support. Thank you, Janis, for bringing up this topic.


    1. You sound as addicted as I am! I couldn’t imagine not having access to NPR and PBS so I happily support them. We have a very active station here that offers all sorts of interesting outings and presentations for its membership. I’m glad that you feel that membership is important too. Many people listen and watch but don’t bother to join.

  8. Hi Janis! Thank you for this excellent reminder. We all “vote with our dollars” one way or another and support NPR and PBS is an excellent way to tell the world what is important to us. While we’ve donated before, you just might have encouraged me to be a bit more generous this year. Far, far better to support any organization that shares the truth in honest and complete ways! ~Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy! My parents were enthusiastic supporters for many years and now my husband and I happily continue the legacy. When we talk about various charities, non-profits, and causes we want to support financially, Public Broadcasting is always at the top of our list. I’m so glad (although not too surprised) that you support them too!

  9. I just wanted to thank you for your heartfelt comments about my post on the blog “Retirement: A Full-Time Job”. I am the Walter who is having difficulty in adjusting to retirement and have gone back to work at a job that is not challenging or satisfying. I really appreciated your concern as some of the other posters were mean spirited. Yes, I was the head of a state government agency, but it’s not the power I miss–my team accomplished much, I enjoyed my team, and yes, my job was my identity. Since there are no do-overs here, I need to find a comfort zone. But again, thank you for your support. Walter

    1. Hi Walter! I, too, was surprised at some of the negative replies your comment generated. How could anyone who doesn’t know you jump to the conclusion that you mainly missed having power over people? Although I am enjoying being retired, I do very much miss the social network I left behind, as well as the feelings of accomplishment my work gave me. I know you mentioned that you aren’t the type to volunteer your time, but you might be surprised at the range of volunteering opportunities that are out there. You might find the team you are looking for in one of those. Again, good luck!

    2. Hi, Walter – Thank you for sharing your story. You are correct about the difficulty of leaving a fulfilling position. Our identifies easily become enmeshed with our careers and can be very difficult to untangle. My husband and I have been retired for 15 months now. Although it was a good transition for me (at least so far) my husband has struggled with adapting to retired life. I’d love to hear more of your story as it unfolds. I look forward to reading about a positive next chapter for you.

  10. Hi – I’m popping over to visit you from Roaming About. I used to be quite a regular NPR listener but haven’t done so in a while. I really should start tuning in again. They have such great programming.

    1. I don’t know how my husband I could have gotten through this current election cycle without NPR. They can actually discuss the issues without yelling at each other or putting others down. Beyond that, I always learn something by listening to their stories. I hope you tune in again. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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