But that became the case last year when Ms. Feld, 39, senior VP-advertising and promotions for Corporation for Public Broadcasting, prepared to face a Republican-dominated Congress and its leader Newt Gingrich.
Speaker of the House Mr. Gingrich and Congress proposed to eliminate or drastically reduce federal funding of the network, saying other TV outlets, especially with cable, now meet the needs for educational programs formerly the sole domain of public TV.
Led by Ms. Feld, PBS revised a campaign launched in summer '94 before the GOP came to power.
The effort focused on the public stations' unique ability to serve as the nation's storyteller, scientist and historian and was aimed at justifying PBS' need for contributions from the viewing public.
Created by Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco and tagged "If PBS doesn't do it, who will?" TV spots ran on PBS' 354 member stations. Some stations also chose to pay to run the spots on other local or cable stations and PBS purchased local radio.
One spot featuring the acclaimed "Civil War" series shows a TV set next to monuments of the dead at Gettysburg. "No stars. No happy ending. What TV network would want it?" the commercial concludes.
"The truth is, the campaign really worked well" in the Capitol Hill fight, says Ms. Feld. "Our opponents have realized we have such strong public support that they are backing away from zeroing us out."
To date, PBS has maintained public funding as the Republican-dominated Congress has held back on the most draconian cuts.
But Ms. Feld says the campaign "wasn't created for that." Instead, she says the notion is to win not just congressional but public support. She likes to quote from the general manager of the Chicago PBS station: "the era of assumed virtue is over" for PBS. "We have to justify why the public should support it, watch it, send money for pledges."