PBS Unveils NerdTV, the First Downloadable Web-Exclusive Series from a Major Broadcaster, and Begins PBS Podcasts

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Alexandria, VA - September 7, 2005  Beginning today, PBS takes the wraps off two major new content offerings: NerdTV - broadcast television's first entirely downloadable series - and an array of downloadable podcasts from a variety of PBS signature programs.


Featuring PBS technology columnist and industry insider Robert X. Cringely's interviews with personalities from the ever-changing world of technology, NerdTV is now available for download from www.pbs.org/nerdtv. NerdTV's inaugural guest is original Macintosh programmer Andy Hertzfeld.

NerdTV viewers are encouraged to download and copy the shows, share them with friends and even post them on their own Web sites - all legally. This groundbreaking series will be distributed under a Creative Commons license, so viewers can redistribute the shows or edit their own non-commercial version. The 13 one-hour shows will be made available on a weekly basis after the launch date, and all previous episodes will continue to be available through the NerdTV Web site.

The complete list of NerdTV guests includes:


  • Macintosh operating system programmer Andy Hertzfeld

  • PayPal co-founder Max Levchin

  • Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy

  • Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak

  • Internet publisher Tim O'Reilly

  • Autodesk co-founder Dan Drake

  • TCP/IP inventor Bob Kahn

  • Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart

  • Former Lotus chief scientist Jerry Kaplan

  • Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle

  • Former Apple chief scientist Larry Tesler

  • Google CEO Eric Schmidt

  • The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds


Said Cringely, "NerdTV will have an uninterrupted hour with the smartest, funniest and sometimes nerdiest people in high tech. These are people who have changed our lives, whether we know it or not. Through NerdTV a broad audience of enthusiasts and students will gain a much greater understanding of these techies and the context of their lives and work."

Cindy Johanson, senior vice president, PBS Interactive Learning, said, "Over the past 10 years, PBS and its member stations have led the way with some of the most innovative, meaningful multimedia experiences available. Bob Cringely's NerdTV illustrates our unwavering commitment to bring audiences clever, on-demand, participatory programming." She added, "NerdTV offers a cost-effective production model that may transform how programming is made in the future."

Viewers will be able to choose the content or format they download to their computer: MP4 video of the whole program, MP4 video of the "juicy" excerpt (for a more general audience wanting just a nugget) and MP4 video of the "nerdy" excerpt (for a more technical audience wanting just a nugget). In addition, a subtitled/captioned version and a variety of audio-only formats will be available, including AAC, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis.

PBS Podcasts

Also today, PBS is formally launching an array of downloadable, portable podcasts. Podcasting is a way of publishing audio broadcasts using the Internet. Listeners subscribe to podcasts using software that downloads new audio content automatically. Once users subscribe to a podcast, they can either listen to it on their computer or transfer it to a portable MP3 player.

All of these PBS podcasts are now available at www.pbs.org/podcasts:

  • NOVA(Science documentaries that show the human story behind the science story) Hear how 10 top physicists describe Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, to the rest of us.

  • NOW(Analysis and perspective on current events, issues and ideas) Download the entire show in podcast form each week.

  • NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER (Daily, in-depth news and analysis from the Web site of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) Listen to daily news updates and analysis, interviews with newsmakers and in-depth reports on the issues of the day.

  • P.O.V.(Emmy-award winning showcase for independent documentaries) Hear diverse perspectives on contemporary issues from documentary filmmakers, writers and others.

  • RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY (News coverage and analysis of religion and ethics) Download the entire show in podcast form each week.

  • THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW (A documentary about segregation from the end of the Civil War to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement) Listen to firsthand accounts by people who experienced, endured and survived the Jim Crow era.


Said Johanson, "PBS and our local stations have received many requests for podcasts, and we're thrilled to launch with this stellar line-up. Our producers offer some of the highest quality, compelling content on-air, online and, now, for audiences on-the-go."

About PBS
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

Kevin Dando, PBS 703-739-5073 kdando@pbs.org