Can we talk about PBS?

[Content Note: While I don’t mention specifics, or the names of people involved, there is a mention of serious allegations involving some well-known TV personalities with a history of consent violations. If this is something that’s upsetting for you, definitely feel free to skip this post. If you decide to continue reading, which I respect your decision to do so all the same, and the mention of it brings up difficult feelings for you, I encourage you to contact RAINN whichever way you prefer, be it text, IM, or phone. I can say for sure that they’re really helpful in processing whatever feelings this may bring up for you.]

When you hear of PBS, or the Public Broadcasting Service, what comes up for you, if anything? Is it just a bunch of random stuff nobody cares about, something you’re indifferent toward either way, or is it a channel you’ve come to know and love?

PBS was a part of my life as a kid, and I’d even start my day with it at different points. I remember waking up early enough sometimes to see the national anthem airing, before it shifted toward a 24-hour broadcast. PBS was also one of a few channels that came in worth a damn in my neighborhood at the time, so that decision was pretty much made for me, haha.

Are there any shows you remember from PBS as a kid? For me, it was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. I never missed an episode, and it’s also how I learned a lot of my geography in the first place. I remember wanting to be on that show so bad, but unfortunately I was too young for it. By the time I was finally old enough, the show had ended its’ run, leaving us with the animated series on Fox. I saw a couple episodes of it, and it just wasn’t the same.

Ghostwriter was another favorite. I thought Lenni, Jamal, Rob, Gaby, and Alex were just the coolest, and I wanted to be like them when I got to middle school. I remember seeing the show about Max Mouse, and being so freaked out by it, along with the show where Alex gets caught up with someone who uses illegal drugs. On a more positive note, I still remember the one where Lenni writes a song and does a music video for MTV.

Years after Ghostwriter‘s run ended, I caught the episodes on Noggin during its’ first iteration, obviously not at my house, but they aired late at night. It was a stroll down memory lane, and their outfits ended up being the inspiration for the characters in a story I was writing at the time. It mostly played out in my head, and thankfully none of it’s ever seen the light of day.

The next generation of Zoom came to the airwaves when I was in 7th grade, and it was so much fun to watch after Arthur, since Wishbone left the rotation. Ah, Wishbone! It really made me wish I had a Jack Russell Terrier, and if I did, I’d have named it Wishbone, whether it was a he or a she. In all seriousness, it’s how I learned about the literature considered classics.

Outside the programming geared toward us kids, I also remember seeing The Joy of Painting, and how Bob Ross made it all look so easy. I’m serious. Recreating those with the tempera paints in art class was a disaster, haha. Bob Vila’s Home Again was always fun, and The New Yankee Workshop made me wanna take up woodworking. I’d still love to try it sometime, even if it ends up being a total dumpster fire.

As I came of age, PBS became my daily background noise during the summer months when I’d sit in the living room with my journals and notebooks, if the talk shows weren’t about anything good. It’s how I became familiar with Dragon Tales, Caillou (good riddance to that annoying dork!), Clifford, and Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat. Sometimes I’d catch Antiques Roadshow in the evenings, and the miniseries 1900 House was on my list of must-see shows.

In college, PBS fell by the wayside in favor of other things, and for awhile, I gave up on TV altogether when the Internet came to my house. I’m still not quite sure how it came to be, but I decided to get a TV for my room, and after some research on quality antennas for the price, I picked that up, and after some fiddling around with it, I got most of the channels listed.

I saw that there were subchannels for the local stations, and PBS had two of them when I got my TV, not counting this weird audio-only subchannel (idk what the point of it is, or what it’s all about). They’ve since added on another, to include PBS Kids, World, and Create.

I sometimes have PBS World as my background noise, and they have the international news programming, like DW News, BBC World News America, France 24, and NHK News. They also used to air the Nightly Business Report, which my girl cat liked to watch for some weird reason. My late boy cat was all about the local weather channel.

PBS Create had Sewing with Nancy, and aired the episodes until she died. (RIP!) Now it’s The Best of Sewing with Nancy. Even though most of it’s way above my paygrade, she makes this stuff look so easy too. America’s Test Kitchen was something I’d watch on Saturday mornings periodically back in the days of terrestrial broadcasting, and my favorite part was the equipment testing. Doc Willoughby’s segment was also fun. BTW, I thought he was f’ing hot, and honestly, still is, haha.

One of the things that earned PBS a place in my heart was how they responded to the allegations involving the anchors for a couple of shows in their lineup a couple years back. I won’t say who they are, since it’s pretty easy to find in a Google search, or specifics. I’ll just mention that these allegations were about instances where these anchors engaged in consent violations, and PBS responded by pulling them from their rotation on their main channel and on PBS World. It sent the message that this was something they condemned, regardless of demographics or gender identity, as it should be.

Conversely, another channel continues to air TV shows that have actors with histories of questionable behavior at best, and consent violations at worst. As such, I have no plans to ever watch that channel. Whatever I like from its’ current lineup, I’ll catch the shows elsewhere if I’m in the mood for ’em. Fortunately this is a channel that doesn’t come in worth a damn, so giving that a miss is like shooting fish in a barrel for me.

Over to you, readers. Has PBS been a part of your lives too? If so, what are (or were) your favorites? Sound off, and let’s get it started in here.

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