Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding proposed to end

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The president’s preliminary Fiscal 2021 budget is proposing to end all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) within 2 years – a budget plan that has previously been on the books in past years.  The proposal would eliminate all but $30 million of each year’s funding for CPB, which helps fund public radio and TV news and programming initiatives, in Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022; the $30 million would represent the cost of closing down the funding and is similar to President Trump’s proposals of the last three budgets.  The budget statement claims private fundraising has negated the need for federal funding.  “Services such as PBS and NPR, which receive funding from CPB, could make up the shortfall by increasing revenues from corporate sponsors, foundations, and members,” the budget plan states. “In addition, alternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly funded programming options.”   CPB received $445 million in funding for the 2020 fiscal year & has requested the same from the 2021 budget. 

Responding to the news, CEO/President of CPB, Patricia Harrison said: “We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens — a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support. The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system —  a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire. Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience. Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials.”

Past budget proposals to cut Public Broadcasting funding have resulted in Congress coming to the aid of CPB.   In late December 2019, Congress approved and Trump signed a pair of federal spending bills under which CPB will get $465 million in its fiscal 2022 advance appropriation, a $20 million boost over what it received in the previous federal budget.

 

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Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

1 thought on “Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding proposed to end

  1. Jason Remington says:
    February 11, 2020 5:01 pm at
    NPR informational programming (news) constantly attacks Trump. Not surprised Trump would consider stopping the funding. George Bush had the same idea. As for public service programming? The content can be found elsewhere. Why not fund Mom & Pop stations? NPR has ridden this gravy train long enough.

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    Mike BarerMike Barer says:
    February 12, 2020 11:31 pm at
    Too tell you the truth, I rarely watch it. However, I remember shows like Wall Street Week and the McLaughlin Group (bye, bye). So I do think it is a valuable resource.

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    AvatarSteven Smith says:
    February 11, 2020 6:25 pm at
    I agree with Jason. I think NPR….which is top 5 rated in many major markets… including Seattle should swim on its own. I would much rather hear a few ads, which they have anyway as they tell us who is paying for shows, than the program length fundraising drives. Time to let them support themselves. I do expect Congress will intervene again.

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    Mike BarerMike Barer says:
    February 12, 2020 8:33 pm at
    Ads can make stations adherent to ratings,

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    Tom LaysonTom Layson says:
    February 12, 2020 3:31 pm at
    There is a lot of great work being funded by the CPB at local radio and TV stations. I think the big thing is that stations fulfill the mandate of the Community Service Grant (CSG), which in its first few lines calls for the production of local programs. In short, my catchphrase for this is: “You can’t put your stick up and your hand out and NOT produce anything.” I think stations that are just pass-throughs or not contributing significantly to LOCAL programming need to get off the dole. But again, there is a lot of great LOCAL work being funded by the CSG if you can sniff-it-out. That’s one of our issue too – we operate in such anonymity because spending that precious grant money trying to move-the-needle promotionally is such a heavy lift. Few thoughts from the peanut gallery.

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    Jason RemingtonJason Remington says:
    February 12, 2020 7:38 pm at
    More regulation to discern who is qualified to receive funds? That would be the answer and it is not anything that we want – more government oversight. Money spent on how determining how the government should spend money.
    With all the fund-raisers and corporate grants, I think public television will do fine without the government/taxpayer funding.

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    Mike BarerMike Barer says:
    February 12, 2020 8:36 pm at
    I think that content could be more balanced. But didn’t Buckley start out on public TV? I think it was the only place that you could find Conservative commentary before Hot Talk Radio.

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    AvatarSteven Smith says:
    February 12, 2020 9:18 pm at
    I know lots of people who listen and watch these stations. My wife likes the old KPLU jazz station. I find it pleasant with more music and less politics. I admit I have a bad taste for the public stations…all the fundraising calls and letters if you ever gave them a dime. And in the early days of the Bellingham public station…now run by WSU network….the turkeys were out selling price per item type spots like the commercial stations did. And they were doing fundraising and institutional ads as well. I had KBFW and called our FCC lawyer. He called them and they quit selling the 30 and 60 sec spots that promoted great deals on furniture, gas, etc. At least back then, their mandate did not allow them to sell that kind of ad. They could say on the air who made funding possible for a given program or programs. They wanted it both ways…. their federal dole and to sell commercial spots like the commercial operators. Despite their indiscretions it was very poorly run and folded in about a year. It was low power and they had all these paid employees with titles I never even heard of in real radio. I think WSU is doing ok with it. They have had the station for 20 plus years now.

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    Mike CherryMike Cherry says:
    February 12, 2020 9:39 pm at
    Steven – which station was that? KZAZ? I thought Wash. State U had always owned 91.7 right from the start, but perhaps they began trying to be a Bellingham community station? I can’t see 89.3 KUGS trying to sell ad spots & as a sometime listener have never heard heard anything there that would violate FCC regs for non-comms.

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    AvatarSteven Smith says:
    February 12, 2020 10:14 pm at
    Mike…it was KZAZ. In the early days one of my closest friends, a local attorney now but not then, was the one who came up with the idea. I was minimally involved myself, years away from owning KBFW. Anyway, my friend lost interest but he had done lots of research and had FCC paperwork. So maybe 10 years later a community group got involved. It all sounded good, they had biz people and accountants on the local board. But nobody knew squat about radio. They actually imported a manager from somewhere and he hired all these extraneous people and it was located in the Bellingham Towers. Problem was I think it was only around 100 watts FM so it did not have coverage other than city proper. It all started falling apart fast. They had a bigger staff than many local commercial stations, they had no listeners, no pledges to speak of, and lots of payroll debt. I don’t think it survived in that original state for more than a year…two at the outside. So yes……WSU has had it for a long time but they were not on the ground floor. Actually, I have no clue where the transmitter and stick are today…still at the Towers? And I do not know if they could make a local announcement or play a cut of music locally if they needed to or if is simply a connection from the WSU feed into their audio processing.

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    Mike CherryMike Cherry says:
    February 13, 2020 1:48 pm at
    Steven – thanks for a fascinating tale of KZAZ’s early beginnings which I had no clue about. From my years of experience in campus/community FM, it sounds like the original operators had no clue how to run a non-profit FM. The stationtoday has no ability to broadcast or produce any local programs in Bellingham. It’s merely a rebroadcaster of the state-wide NWPR news/talk feed. This is a perfect example of yours & Jason’s arguments for defunding CPB. KZAZ is still running 120 watts ERP. It’s stick is located north of the city on King Mountain – it’s at the end of James St, just north of Bakerview Rd

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    AvatarSteven Smith says:
    February 14, 2020 2:05 pm at
    Mike,
    I know that area well. The KBFW stick is at the foot of the hill. Up top is an antenna farm, so KZAZ is probably up there. The stick was probably always at King Mountain, but for awhile they had their studio in the Bham Towers. I knew that well too because when I began at KBFW, we were on the very top floor of the towers. KZAZ office was in the towers but not such a prime office spot.

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    Mike CherryMike Cherry says:
    February 14, 2020 2:27 pm at
    Steven – using Google Street View, I can see the KZAZ tower while on Hannegan Rd just south of Van Wyck Rd…look across the open field & it’s visible. Unfortunately, Street View doesn’t cover all the roads in the neighborhood so I can’t get close enough on either James St. or E Kellogg Rd to have a look at the 930 towers. I tried viewing these from Hannegan Rd but there is too much forested landscape to see west.

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