Statement from Patricia Harrison on the Death of Newton Minow, One of Public Broadcasting’s Founding Fathers

May 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 7, 2023) – Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), released the following statement today regarding the death of Newton Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at age 97.

“All of us at CPB and the public media family across the country mourn the passing of Newt Minow, one of public broadcasting’s founding fathers. In his first major speech as FCC chairman in 1961, Newt called commercial television a 'vast wasteland' and advocated for programming in the public interest. His landmark speech is considered one of the most influential American speeches of all time and led to the creation of CPB and PBS and the educational programming and community service that characterizes today’s public media system.

“One of the most accomplished lawyers in the nation, Newt was a pioneer in the launch of communications satellites, which led to the global information revolution and the internet age. And he played a key role in establishing televised presidential debates.

“In 1982, CPB awarded Newt Minow the distinguished Ralph Lowell Award, public television’s highest award, for his outstanding individual contributions to public broadcasting. And in 2012, CPB awarded him the CPB Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his outstanding individual contributions to public media over many years.

“I want to extend my condolences to the family, friends, and all those impacted by the extraordinary life and legacy of Newt Minow. May his memory be a blessing to his family and to all who knew him.”

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other updates.