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The origins and evolution of the major insititutions in the United States for noncommercial radio and television are explored in this unique volume. Ralph Engelman examines the politics behind the development of National Public Radio, Radio Pacifica and the Public Broadcasting Service. He traces the changing social forces that converged to launch and shape these institutions from the Second World War to the present day. The book challenges several commonly held beliefs - including that the mass media is simply a manipulative tool - and concludes that public broadcasting has an enormous potential as an emancipatory vehicle.