Hats off to birth of Corporations in Support of Public Television

June 23 was a historic day for Public Broadcasting. It marked a turning point in PBS's continuing battle for funding. On that day, the inaugural seminar meeting of Corporations in Support of Public Television took place. CSPT is made up of a group of national public-television underwriters dedicated to preserving the institution of public television in America. Since one of the best ways to preserve PBS is to make certain it is properly funded, one of the organization's professed purposes is ''to encourage new corporate underwri-ing support.''

Other aims of the group:

* ''To provide an independent forum in which members can share their underwriting experiences in an effort to help other corporations derive full benefit from their participation.''

* ''To provide present and prospective underwriters with up-to-date information regarding national developments in public television.''

* ''To serve PBS, at its request, as an information sounding board on matters pertaining to underwriting issues and opportunities.''

The meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and representatives of more than 40 major public-service-minded US corporations sent representatives.

The organization has decided to function with a steering committee, chaired by Harvey C. McCormick, manager of public relations at the J. C. Penney Company. Other members of the steering committee include representatives of AT&T, Atlantic Richfield Company, Chevron USA, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Exxon Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Electric Company, GTE Corporation , Gulf Oil Corporation, International Business Machines, Mobil Oil Corporation, Esmark Inc., and Xerox Corporation.

Each of the seminar meetings will be hosted by different corporation executives. The host of the June 23 meeting was Thomas E. Latimer, senior director of advertising and corporate communications at Gulf Oil.

The group heard speeches by PBS president Lawrence Grossman and US Rep. Timothy E. Wirth (D) of Colorado, as well as many underwriters.

According to Mr. McCormick, there will soon be regularly scheduled meetings of the steering committee and expanded seminars. The next scheduled seminar meeting, another important date for PBS, has already been set for the West Coast. Similar to the historic Washington meeting, it will take place in Los Angeles Jan. 12, hosted by Atlantic Richfield. Probably in late spring there will be another expanded seminar meeting, scheduled for the Midwest.

According to McCormick, the steering committee hopes these seminars will encourage current underwriters to expand their participation as well as explain the benefits of participation in Public Broadcasting Service to potential corporate underwriters.

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