Book Description: Covering the current decline of public broadcasting in the United States, this study looks at what is required for a genuinely democratic broadcasting service, a network that serves its audience rather than its sponsors. US spending on public broadcasting, at just $1 per citizen each year, compared with over $30 in Japan and nearly $40 in Great Britain, is already meagre. But now the Republic majorities in Congress are aiming to end the government subsidy altogether. Denounced for its liberal bias and elitism, public television and radio have become the latest whipping boy in the Right's drive to leave the market as gate-keeper of the nation's opinions. Yet, as this history reveals, the radicalism which permeated both the vision and the practice of public television in its early has long since withered. Gone are the heady days of the early 1970s when the adventurous New York-based NET (funded, ironically, by the heirs of Henry Ford) could broadcast sympathetic interviews with Kathleen Cleaver and Louis Farrakhan or highly critical documentaries of US foreign policy, such as "Inside North Vietnam". Obsessive harrassment by the Nixon and the Reagan administrations saw public television's management repeatedly compromise their editorial freedom in a forlorn attempt to maintain funding. Politically safe children's shows, such as "Sesame Street", elbowed aside controversial documentaries and dramas. But the funding cuts could not be stalled and the public broadcasters turned more and more to private sponsorship for their programmes, to the point, Ledbetter caustically reports, where they are now as much in the pocket of US corporations as their commercial rivals.