Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version



Published in Journalism Quarterly 69:3 (Fall 1992), pp. 691-701. Copyright (c) 1992 AEJMC (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication).


A study of public television viewers in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1977 and 1989 found both consistency and differences in viewing patterns. In both periods, viewers watched television in general about six hours a day. But viewers of all education levels were much more likely to watch public television in 1989 than in 1977, when watchers tended to be those with higher levels of education. The amount of time spent watching public television inched up in 1989, and there is evidence that viewers assimilated public television more into their regular viewing. The study concludes that public television appeals to a broader and more heterogeneous audience than it did earlier.