My Turn, Your Turn: PBS

There's a special fraternity among broadcasters. It's such a small industry that there really aren't many strangers.  In every place I've worked, there's always someone I've worked with before, or shares a mutual friend.  And while I never thought I'd say anything bad about a fellow broadcaster, that's about to change.

Recently, when the Federal Communications Commission announced that Wilmington would be the first city in America to change to a digital signal only WUNJ, the public television station, refused to go along.  The PBS station explained to us in a conference call that they had a technical issue preventing them from participating. They couldn't change the educational message on the UNC TV station here in Wilmington without switching all their stations across the state.  I understood their predicament, and had no problem with the decision.  That is until they put out a news release giving another reason.

For some reason they didn't want to tell the public what they told us in private.  Instead they cited reasons of public safety during the hurricane season.  The management of WUNJ should know the great extremes all commercial stations in this market are going to make to be sure the "Big Switch" will not interfere with our coverage of a possible storm.  For them to cite one reason to fellow broadcasters and another reason to the news media is wrong.  For me, well, that puts the B-S boldly in PBS. The public, and for that matter, fellow broadcasters deserve better.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email Gary McNair at