Public Broadcasting Federal Funding Update

Mar 29, 2017

On March 16th, the Trump administration released its FY2018 budget outline which includes a provision to eliminate annual grants to public radio and television stations through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  Ultimately, Congress will make the final decision on continuing the annual federal investment that supports JPR and other public radio and television stations across the country. This support totals $1.35 per citizen per year for all public radio and television stations, and just 30 cents per citizen annually for radio stations alone.

This is a serious moment for public broadcasting.  Elimination of all federal support would have an immediate detrimental impact on JPR and every public radio and television station. Over the years, public broadcasting stations have earned broad bipartisan support in Congress and with the American people. Several national surveys indicate that Americans consider the federal investment in public broadcasting to be a better use of tax dollars than any other except national defense. A March 24th poll conducted by Quinnipiac University indicates that 70% of American voters oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to public broadcasting funding while 25% support the cuts.

This is not the first time we’ve been down this road.  As recently as 2012, Congress requested that CPB provide a report to House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the feasibility of developing alternative sources of funding for public broadcasting stations in lieu of federal funding.  In response to Congress‘s request, CPB engaged the management consulting firm of Booz & Company to explore in-depth alternatives to the federal appropriation, to identify existing funding sources that could yield significant new revenue, and to consider the impact of the loss of the federal appropriation on the public broadcasting system.  After analyzing the five most promising new alternative funding options and the possibility of significantly expanding 14 existing revenue streams, Booz & Company issued the following key findings:

  • There is no viable combination of alternative funding sources that together could replace or significantly reduce the federal appropriation for public broadcasting.
  • Ending federal funding for public broadcasting would severely diminish public broadcasting in the U.S. and would likely jeopardize the entire system.
  • 54 public television and 76 public radio stations would be at high risk of no longer being able to sustain operations if federal funding were eliminated.
  • Stations serving rural and underserved areas would be most negatively impacted.
  • A domino effect could result that would have a cascading debilitating impact on remaining stations and national program services.

JPR relies on CPB funding for approximately 14% of our annual operating budget.  This funding is vital to our ability to serve the mostly rural, geographically distant communities in our region.  Without CPB support, JPR simply would not be able to sustain the level of service we currently provide.

Many of you have contacted us to ask what you can do to support JPR at this pivotal time. We are truly grateful for your concern and commitment to preserve our service to the region. Here are things you can do today:

  • Call or write your elected officials and share with them the value you place on JPR’s service.  Share your favorite programs and/or the reasons you listen to JPR.  For contact information of your elected representatives CLICK HERE.
  • Sign Protect My Public Media's petition to show your support of public media – CLICK HERE.
  • Post, Tweet and share your affection for JPR and for things you hear on public radio — a powerful story or an inspired piece of music. Tell your friends how JPR has impacted you. Share the protectmypublicmedia.org petition via your social media.
  • Make a personal gift and urge others to support JPR and the public radio and TV stations you listen to and watch—your membership support is crucial as we prepare for the worst case scenario.  Consider increasing your gift and becoming a sustaining member.  To contribute now CLICK HERE.

Thank you for your loyal and generous support of JPR’s mission.  Our belief in the importance of serving citizens rather than consumers has never been stronger.  Our belief that knowledge is power and that real independent journalism is an essential element of our democracy has never been stronger.  Our belief in fostering music discovery, preservation and education while supporting a vibrant regional music economy has never been stronger.

Our ability to remain strong in the years ahead will depend on you.  Your voice is more important than ever.