With a new administration in Washington, there’s been a lot of buzz about the possibility of public radio and television stations losing their federal funding.
We’ve been here before. More than ever, understanding the history and facts behind the current situation is essential to taking action—or, at the least, to not spreading misinformation about public media. If you want to support the work of public media, do check out protectmypublicmedia.org.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) was created through the bi-partisan Public Broadcasting Act of 1968. Particularly in rural areas, like the region NCPR serves, there is a continuing history of Republican and Democratic representatives supporting public broadcasting. Why is this?
NCPR provides the only 24/7 communications network connecting the entire Adirondack North Country—with news, information, and cultural programs. NCPR is the primary emergency alert station for much of the region. NCPR is committed to fair and trustworthy news coverage. NCPR is non-partisan and provides a broad spectrum of regional voices and stories.
CPB is the conduit for federal funds for public radio and TV, almost all of which is directed to local stations like North Country Public Radio, based on a formula that pivots on the station’s non-federal annual revenues. (2016 Funding Flow Chart) For NCPR the CPB annual stipend represents about 12% of our annual revenues.
How much does Congress allocate to CPB each year? About $445 million. This is about $1.35 per capita annually. For radio, it’s about 40 cents per person annually. Stations use the money to create or purchase programs. About 40 million Americans tune into public radio stations each week. Here are some basic facts and figures about public radio.
If you’re feeling really wonky, you can check out the Congressional appropriations summary.
Please take a moment to consider this: the American public has actively contributed—through private and public funds—to the creation, growth and maintenance of the public broadcasting system over the past 50 years. Together we have created one of the most important cultural and informational infrastructures in our country—and if that infrastructure is allowed to decay because of inadequate investment, we will lose a shared resource that touches so many lives every day of the year.
Thank you for caring about this public radio station, and about the network of public radio and TV stations serving the American people.