If you watch much public television, you’ll notice that many of the finest national PBS broadcasts originate from a handful of stations scattered across the nation, such as WGBH Boston, WQED Pittsburgh, or KCET Los Angeles. Our very own Vegas PBS should be one of them—a leading producer of national documentaries, anthologies and Web content.
Public television funding may be off our radar during hard times, but donors across the country still consider both supporting and watching PBS as a form of cultural capital. The prestige of the Vegas PBS logo in front of something like, say Frontline or Independent Lens would bring sorely needed cultural prestige to the city—just the sort of prestige that helps draw the so-called creative class to a city. And what the creative class creates, as urban theorist Richard Florida has famously demonstrated, are jobs.
Las Vegas has important stories to tell. This is a city like no other, but the challenges we encounter are the problems of America writ large. In other words, we’re at once intriguingly unique and a canary in the national coal mine. We’re also home to talented production pros, and just 280 miles away from even more of them.
In the end, of course, these PBS dreams probably depend on whether our friendly neighborhood corporate gaming titans are interested in having their names flashed on screen right before the words “Viewers Like You.” In the meantime, well, there are viewers like you.