Everyday, it seems, we hear new prognostications about what the information super highway, the 500 channel environment and interactive digital compressed optical fiber portend for the future of broadcasting. American Public Television went through a similar period of worry and consternation in the late 1970s, when futurists promised that cable television, with its abundance of new programming services, meant the demise of Public Television in America. Well, American Public Television survived cable television in fine fashion. How and why it survived cable and will, no doubt, survive tomorrow's new technologies - might be of interest to some you. Those familiar with American Public Television recognize that it is an institution very difficult to describe in 10 words or less. First and foremost, it is a collection of local stations, each licensed to one of four kinds of licensees in some 200 plus cities and/or states. There are 168 unique Public Television licensees in America with some 300 plus transmitters. The stations pride themselves on their local roles in their communities (or states/provinces). In America, Public Television is merely a loose term used to describe a rambunctious group of non-commercial stations. It is a democracy, in the best and worst sense of the term. The station in the remotest comer of Montana has as much power, in terms of voting, as does the largest station, WNET in New York. In the final analysis, there is no "national" Public Television in America. In comparison with other countries, the American public broadcasting system was an after thought, coming into existence well after commercial broadcasting had established itself. It exists today mostly because a group of professors in engineering departments and others in the rhetoric and education departments at American Universities wanted to use "the ether" to educate the masses.