In a special presentation, USD Foundation Director Ted Muenster presented a life membership award to Vermillion Rotary for having contributed over $10,000 to the Foundation.
Tuesday's program featured Wess Pravacek and Julie Anderson speaking about Public Broadcasting in South Dakota. Pravacek is the director of educational services for SD Public Broadcasting. Anderson is the executive director of SD Public Broadcasting, and serves as chairperson of the national Board of Directors for Public Broadcasting. South Dakota is one of only seven states that have state-wide networks of public broadcasting. In other states, PBS is operated on a local level in cities.
South Dakota PBS cooperates with the State Department of Education, Head Start and Early Start to provide not only education TV and radio programs, but in the distribution of 20 to 30 thousand educational books for young children, and in holding 60 to 120 workshops for parents around our state each year.
These workshops include information about choosing good programs for children to watch, as well as strong emphasis on reading to and with small children, and providing nutrition and social skills information to parents. SD PBS Educational Services also visits minimum security prisons to provide parenting training to inmates who will be responsible for young children when they are released.
All of this, as well as the programming needs of radio and television require careful management and fairly large amounts of funding. The federal grants of about $780,000 to SD PBS are essential, as are private fund raising and seeking endowment funds for PBS. In recent years political pressure on Public Broadcasting has been brought to bear because of public impressions that PBS often takes liberal positions on major issues.
One purpose of federal funding has been to limit outside, especially political pressures, so independent consulting has been and is being used to check up on the broadcasting being produced.
Our meeting was closed by singing My Country 'Tis of Thee in unison.