Saturday, 27 May, 2017

PBS releases statement, reminding America why it's important (and cheap)

Trump budget takes aim at PBS funding PBS releases statement, reminding America why it's important (and cheap)
Howard Terry | 18 March, 2017, 01:08

Is there any reason to think the outcome will be different this time around?

She added: "We will work with the new Administration and Congress in raising awareness that elimination of federal funding to CPB begins the collapse of the public media system itself and the end of this essential national service".

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967 under Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, and provides funding to help support almost 1,500 public radio and television stations across the country including PBS and NPR.

Why does public broadcasting need federal funding?

In many rural areas, public broadcasting is the only source of free local, national and global news, public affairs and cultural programming - and with such small populations they often rely more heavily on federal funding.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote President Trump Thursday to register their opposition to defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. "It's an existential question for many of them".

But the impact on public media nationwide, Pavelko said, was also a concern.

The federal government provides about $450 million to the corporation, known as the CPB, each year.

Cultural funding is already far lower in the United States than in most of Europe, where governments often directly subsidize major institutions.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act, the legislation signed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 that established CPB and the modern American public broadcasting system.

In 2016, KUED received $1,702,498 from CPB - 18.96 percent of its budget. But it has always been a cultural piƱata and symbol of government excess for conservatives, who've been critical of the alleged liberal bias of public radio and TV programming. And I will say from my heart, through all of my life one thing has been clear: "public television plays a vital role in education all of the public, but most especially our children".

PBS ("Masterpiece", "Antiques Roadshow") and NPR ("Morning Edition", "Fresh Air") operate like a co-op, where member stations share in the dues. And I guarantee you that a Detroit single mom draws more of a direct benefit from her minuscule investment in "Sesame Street" than she does from, say, a few more F-35 joint strike fighters. "But we're prepared to defend ourselves". The organization divies up the money among hundreds of local public television and radio stations across the U.S., which license national programs like NPR's "All Things Considered". The lifesaving emergency communications, local programming, educational content, trusted news, locally hosted and curated music programs, and other services WEMU provides could disappear.

They also have mobilized the public at times, such as a 2011 lobbying campaign that brought Big Bird to the halls of Congress (that bit of theater might have been blunted by a 2015 deal between "Sesame Street's" parent company, Sesame Workshop, and HBO, in which Sesame produces first-run episodes for the pay-TV network; PBS gets the reruns). "At this point we certainly don't know and the message we are putting out is that membership support is more important than ever". Public Broadcasting Atlanta, which focuses on metro Atlanta with 90.1/WABE and PBA 30, would also have to trim down 10 percent.

The potential for the elimination of federal funding for the CPB is real, but it is not inevitable.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees CPB Funding. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., and Tom Cole, R-Okla., previously have supported CPB's funding. Earlier this year, insiders said the budget would likely include a number of proposals from conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Republican Study Committee, both of which recommended de-funding public broadcasters.

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