The problem of describing American radio and television lies in the simple fact: there's so much of it, so many different types and so much variety. At the end of the 20th century there were over 9.000 individual radio stations operating in the United States. By this time their number has grown dramatically.
There are public and educational radio stations. They are owned and operated primarily by colleges and universities, by local schools and boards of education, and by various religious groups. At the same time in the late 90-s there were close to 1,200 individual television stations. Of these TV stations, just 300 were noncommercial. Like the non-commercial radio stations, the non-commercial television stations are supported by individual donations, grants from foundations and private organizations, funds from the city, state and federal sources.
Laws prohibit any state or the federal government from owning or operating radio and television stations (stations such as Voice of America may only broadcast oversea There is no also governmental censorship or "reviewing" of programs and content. There are no governmental boards or appointed groups which control any radio or television broadcasting. However, all commercial stations are required to devote a certain percentage of the broadcasting time to "public service" announcements and advertising. These range from advertisements for the Red Cross blood drives and for dental care to programs on Alcoholics Anonymous and car safety. This broadcasting time given to public service messages is free of charge.
There is a great variety among radio and television stations. The big cities are served by large number of local radio stations. People who live in cities such as
New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have choice up to 100 AM and FM stations. The same may be told about television stations. Smaller cities have one or two local stations and larger cities ten or more. In Los Angeles, for example, there are over 18 different local television stations.
Among the great variety of local, private, non-commercial radio stations in America, there exists the National Public Radio Network (NPR). It is an association of public radio stations. NPR is known for its quality news and discussion pro-rams. Another public radio network, American Public Radio (APR) created a commentary and entertainment program for all ages called The Prairie Home Companion. The largest television networks are CBS, NBC ABC, CNN, ESPN (the all-sports cable network), MTV and PBS. The level of quality, whether in national and international news, entertainment, or education that these networks offer is excellent. Children and parents in many parts of the USA and even the world are familiar with Sesame Street, The Muppet Show or Reading a Rainbow.
non-commercial — некоммерческий, бюджетный
individual donations — частные пожертвования
to prohibit — запрещать
governmental censorship — государственная, правительственная цензура
radio or television broadcasting — радио- или телевещание
announcements and advertising — объявления и реклама
to be free of charge — бесплатный
entertainment — развлечение