The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, charged with promoting and funding public broadcasting in the U.S. was created by Congress in 1967. But when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Law, he had more than radio and TV on his mind. Listen to the moment when LBJ invented the Internet.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: By the way, when President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act on November 7, 1967, he was thinking far beyond the potential of public broadcasting.
LYNDON JOHNSON: I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge - not just a broadcast system - but one that employs every means of sending and of storing information that the individual can use.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Okay. Here's the part, the part where Lyndon Baines Johnson, in his perfervid imagination, invents the internet.
LYNDON JOHNSON: The country doctor getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital; a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York; a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspiration into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected. Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank, and such a system could involve other nations. It could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind. A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday's strangest dreams are today's headlines, and change is getting swifter every moment.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Who knew?
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Coming up, Hillary and Rupert, sitting in a tree of political expedience. This is On the Media from NPR.
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.