The transformation of state media to public service media (PSM) is one of the most ambitious endeavors in the field of media development. Not many efforts to free the national media from government control have succeeded in the past decades. In this paper the comparatively promising cases of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia are discussed. The PSM in these countries all have a new legal basis, including a public service remit and a relatively independent governing body in which civil society is represented. The services delivered to the public by these media are analyzed according to a number of societal functions which are assembled under two general headings: “creating a public sphere” and “supporting integration”. Based on this analysis, a differentiation between “PSM in initial transformation” and “PSM in advanced transformation” is suggested. In all cases studied, different actors successfully used windows of opportunity: general political agendas to reform the media, a specific engagement from the management as well as support from the population and civil society. Media development actors here helped to advance the processes of change in different ways. Recommendations for future media development include strategic planning, inclusion of local actors, the pooling of legal expertise as well as structured processes of organizational development and capacity building.