"In 1988, my graduate thesis film LIVING WITH AIDS aired on the premiere season of POV. It was the first film on the topic to be nationally broadcast on PBS and garnered POV its first National Emmy, signaling its willingness to take risks and present unique perspectives on often controversial subjects. As a first generation American with working class roots who is raising a son with a same sex partner, the programs on POV and Independent Lens appeal to our family unlike any others on television. WNET -- one of the largest, most influential PBS affiliates in the country -- has been essential in bringing these films to the underserved communities that comprise New York’s culturally rich and diverse metropolitan area. And yet, this past December WNET made a unilateral decision to abruptly change the schedules of both series with a plan to push them to its lesser known Long Island station. WNET's deceit and lack of transparency signaled a palpable disregard for those members of the public who lay outside its donor base.
It is a huge relief that PBS heeded the strong public outcry and took a leadership role to negotiate a partial reprieve. While it is encouraging that a compromise has been reached with WNET, the public must remain vigilant to ensure that the still to-be-determined details of the deal will serve ALL members of the public. As a non-profit organization that accepts public funding—both state and federal—WNET has an ethical and legal obligation to adhere to its mission to serve viewers equitably. It is up to us, the members of the public, to demand that WNET and PBS do so."