PCN (the Pennsylvania Cable Network) is a private, non-profit cable television network dedicated to 24-hour coverage of government and public affairs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Built on the C-SPAN model, it features live coverage of both Houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, as well as other forms of informational and educational programming. It is available on every cable system in the state, and is also available on line through the PCN Select subscription service.
In addition to serving as a C-SPAN for Pennsylvania, PCN carries other programs that focus on Pennsylvania's people, culture, business, and history, including:
- Coverage of state high school sports championships
- Walking tours of the Gettysburg Battlefield with National Park rangers
- The annual State Farm Show
- "PCN Tours" - visits to Pennsylvania manufacturing plants
- "PA Books" - interviews with authors of book on Pennsylvania topics
- "Weather World" - a daily 15-minute program produced by the Penn State Department of Meteorology
PCN is funded by Pennsylvania cable television companies and receives no government funding.
The non-profit Pennsylvania Educational Communications System (PECS) was founded in 1979 by George Barco, who became the first president, his daughter Yolanda Barco and Joseph Gans. It was funded by eleven Pennsylvania cable television companies, and provided a network for distributing Educational-access television programming from Pennsylvania State University. George Barco died in 1989 and Yolanda Barco became president in 1990. She renamed it the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and began to reposition it as the state's "educational, public affairs and cultural cable TV network."
In 1992, PCN began moving away from a strictly educational format, with its coverage of Governor Bob Casey's "Capitol for a Day" town hall meetings. Two years later, it began televising daily coverage of the General Assembly. PCN ended its relationship with Penn State in 1996, and assumed full responsibility for the network's operations and programming. Its funding comes from the cable companies that carry PCN, and it receives neither commonwealth nor federal funds.
The majority of PCN's programming is live, unedited coverage of both houses of the General Assembly, press conferences, and meetings of various political and business organizations. PCN also features tours of Pennsylvania manufacturing plants, coverage of the annual State Farm Show, walking tours of Gettysburg Battlefield, and Call-in shows with the state's political figures. "PA Books" a weekly show featuring authors of books on Pennsylvania topics, has been running since 1996. PCN also televises Weather World, a fifteen-minute weather program from the Pennsylvania State University Department of Meteorology.
Unlike most public affairs networks, PCN also covers high school athletic events. Through a partnership with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), PCN televises the state high school championships in competitive spirit, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, track and field, swimming and diving, basketball, team wrestling, individual wrestling, football, field hockey, rugby, and cross-country.
- Lockman, Brian; Sarvey, Don (2005-01-01). Pioneers of Cable Television: The Pennsylvania Founders of an Industry. McFarland. p. 193ff. ISBN 978-0-7864-8272-6. Retrieved 2013-07-22.