On this day 50 years ago, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a non-profit funded by the government to support public broadcasting. CPB’s mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content on radio and television and it does that by distributing more than 70% of its funding to 1,400 locally owned public stations. (1967)
Two years later, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiered and became one of the hallmarks of American public broadcasting, along with another children’s program, Sesame Street.
More Good News on this Date:
- The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, was first published (1665)
- Congress overrode President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Resolution to limit presidential power to wage war without congressional approval (1973)
- Doug Wilder in Virginia became the first elected African-American governor in US history and David Dinkins became the first African-American mayor of New York City (1989)
- Mary Robinson became the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland (1990)
- Hillary Rodham Clinton was elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first former First Lady to win public office in the United States (2000)
- Nancy Pelosi became the first woman speaker of the house in United States history, third in line to the president (2006)
- Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, became the first Muslim elected to Congress (2006)
- Wisconsin voted to elect Tammy Baldwin to become the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator, by a margin of 51-46 (2012)
- First-time candidate Danica Roem in Virginia became the first openly transgender woman in the nation to win a seat in a state legislature (2017)
And, Happy Birthday to Joni Mitchell who turns 74 years old today. The Canadian singer-songwriter and painter, born in 1943, is one of the most influential female musicians of the late 20th century. Her many hit songs include ”Both Sides Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “A Case of You,” “River,” “California,” and “Free Man in Paris” –all recorded before she was 32. Her distinctive open-tuned guitar was prompted by her childhood bout with polio which left her fingers affected. Joni said the improvised tuning freed her— it was “a tool to break free of standard approaches to harmony and structure” in her songwriting. A new biography detailing her life, Reckless Daughter, was just released last month.