Scope and Content
Title: California Public Broadcasting Commission Records
Collection number: R385
California Public Broadcasting Commission
4 cubic feet of textual records, 165 audiocassette tapes, and 95 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tapes
California State Archives
Abstract: The California Public Broadcasting Commission was formed as a result of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1975. The records consist
of 4 cubic feet of textual records, 165 audiocassette tapes, and 95 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tapes. The files consist primarily
of meeting agendas and minutes, reports, roll calls, memoranda, correspondence, proposals, and grant applications. Additionally,
publications, speeches, Commission newsletters, testimony, opinions, notes, and newspaper articles can be found throughout
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication
is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility
for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives
[Identification of item], Public Broadcasting Commission Records, R385.[Series Number], [box and folder number], California
State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.
Acquisition and Custodial History
The California State Archives acquired the Public Broadcasting Commission Records according to state law.
The California Public Broadcasting Commission was formed as a result of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1975 (Chapter 1227
of Statutes 1975). An independent agency of State government, the Public Broadcasting Commission began operating on March
18, 1975, with the purpose to encourage the growth and development of public broadcasting services to the people of California.
Terry Goggin, the author of the Public Broadcasting Act, maintained that creating a Public Broadcasting Commission would better
enable public broadcasters to provide the community with more effective educational programming. At its inception the Public
Broadcasting Commission consisted of seven members. However, by April 1976 the commission had grown to eleven members as
was outlined in the Public Broadcasting Act. The Governor appointed five of the commission's eleven members, two members
were appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and two members were appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules. The remaining
two members were allocated to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Director of the Postsecondary Education Commission.
Prior to the inception of the Public Broadcasting Commission, the Department of General Services maintained an ad-hoc committee
charged with coordinating educational television statewide. Moreover, the Department of General Services was responsible
for preparing a plan to meet California's educational needs through television and for processing educational television station's
federal grant applications. In addition, the Department of General Services was also in charge of distributing relevant information
and coordinating activities related to educational television. These functions were no longer funded by 1970, when the State
Educational TV Advisory Committee and the position of Television Coordinator were eliminated.
The Public Broadcasting Act established several mandates. One mandate required the development of a statewide policy to advance
the growth of public radio and television services to the people of California. Other duties charged upon the commission included:
creating grants for noncommercial radio and television stations and allied institutions; evaluating legislation; research,
development, and demonstration projects; application for federal and private funds; planning and development of terrestrial
and satellite interconnection services; creating grants for program acquisition and production; and disseminating information
to the public. Furthermore, the Public Broadcasting Commission was required to submit an annual report to the Governor and
the State Legislature covering the activities of the commission, its financial condition, commission recommendations, and
the accomplishments of the commission regarding its official charters.
Along with forming the Public Broadcasting Commission, the Public Broadcasting Act authorized the reestablishment of a Radio
and TV Advisory Committee. These committees were given the power to award public broadcasting stations with grants for facility
improvements and to create an interconnected statewide system for the distribution of programming. Additionally, grants could
be distributed for the purpose of development, production, and acquisition of programming. The Public Broadcasting Commission
was required to work closely with the Radio, Television, and Instructional Advisory Committees in the commission's efforts
to maximize the use of existing noncommercial broadcasting facilities.
In the 1983-1984 Governor's Budget, funding for the Public Broadcasting Commission was reduced to an amount compulsory for
the phasing out of operations by the end of 1984. No funds were allocated for 1984-1985, thus eliminating the California
Public Broadcasting Commission. Language included in the Governor's Budget Trailer Bill formally called for the abolishment
of the commission. As the commission ceased operations, public radio and television stations were encouraged to seek funding
from viewers, foundations, and other private sources.
Scope and Content
The records of the Public Broadcasting Commission consists of 4 cubic feet of textual records, 165 audiocassette tapes, and
95 reel to reel tapes of records covering the period 1975 through 1984. The files consist primarily of meeting agendas and
minutes, reports, roll calls, memoranda, correspondence, proposals, and grant applications. Additionally, publications, speeches,
Commission newsletters, testimony, opinions, notes, and newspaper articles can be found throughout the collection as well.
The scope of the textual records is relatively succinct insofar as they reflect the specific charters of the Public Broadcasting
Commission during its existence. For example, meeting files show the daily operations of the commission, what projects it
undertook, and how specific actions were funded. Corresponding audiocassette recordings of commission meetings exist for
many of the meeting files and provide a valuable record of the Commission's contributions and oversight of public broadcasting
The committee file record series illustrates specific tasks undertaken by the Commission. Committee files also demonstrates
how the work of each individual committee interconnected with the objectives of the Public Broadcasting Commission as a whole.
The Grants Committee files in particular, offer many useful insights to how public funds were dispersed for public broadcasting
projects, a principal objective of the commission. Commission subject files are diverse in topics represented, encompassing
the work and challenges that faced the Public Broadcasting Commission. In particular, the annual reports state the commission's
progress in achieving its stated goals. Commissioner's packets were compiled weekly and sent to members of the Public Broadcasting
Commission. This series provides a detailed account of many of the issues the commission dealt with during the period from
1979 to 1980. These files may be exceptionally useful for understanding the commission's intent in their initiatives and
decision-making. Sacramento Update tapes document the sort of information that was distributed as a result of Public Broadcasting
Commission grant distribution.
No further accruals are expected.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
California Public Broadcasting Commission
Educational television broadcasting
Wilson C. Riles, "'No Adversary Situations': Public School Education in California and Wilson C. Riles, Superintendent of
Public Instruction, 1970-1982," an oral history conducted 1981-1982 by Sarah Sharp, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, 1984.