Viewer-Driven TV Programming – Is PBS serious?

I think it’s a nice gesture that PBS is asking viewers for programming suggestions:
What would your prime time lineup look like? Would you emphasize news and public affairs programming over science and nature content? Would you make changes to existing shows? What kinds of new series and specials would you bring to the public airwaves?
When they meet in Palm Desert, CA, the executives should take a look at the suggestions, but I feel they should talk to each other as well.
Why? Because there are serious limitations to heeding the Wisdom of the Crowd.
I blogged about Nick Carr‘s take on this subject a while back: “What crowds are good for is producing average results that are not subject to the biases and other quirks of human minds.”
The PBS bigwigs have forgotten their mission. (Maybe not, since a lot of them are now Republicans; I have to confess, when I heard about that I was sure we were soon all going to be watching infomercials on PBS 24/7).
So let’s remind them what public television stands for. What’s the brand personality they need to be faithful to?
Seth Godin weighs in on this issue with a brilliant post about the purpose of the New York Times. Same deal for PBS.
So let’s ask: What’s important? What’s true?
Big opportunity for big stories, PBS. Go where the corporate media can’t go:
News, Education, and the Arts. And don’t forget to add “Global Warming” as a new category.
PBS, you knew that once.
Look what happened to Ted Koppel and Nightline. Or David Brinkley’s This Week. I’ll Fly Away. That’s commercial television. PBS, please don’t go there.
One more thing: make sure every show is archived online for viewing over the Internet. All the way back to the very beginning of PBS (including Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood). That would be a real public service. Heck, put ’em all on YouTube.
I’m a fan of customer feedback, but I’m a bigger fan of the customer experience.
Don’t mess this up, PBS.

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