Trump Administration Aims to Eliminate Funding for CPB

The Trump Administration this week delivered its annual budget request to Congress. Among the ways the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeks to save taxpayer money is by proposing to wind down federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which provides grants primarily to PBS and NPR stations. In its budget documents, OMB states that CPB provides about 15 percent of total funds for public broadcasters and “private fundraising has proven durable, negating the need for continued federal subsidies.”

Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the CPB, declared in a statement, “Americans place great value on having universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services, provided commercial free and free of charge. Since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts and public affairs programs.”

OMB’s documents seem to have forseen this claim and counter, “[A]lternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly funded programming options.”

Of note, in a 2010 filing with the FCC during its “Future of Media” proceeding, NRB proposed the government not “super-fund public broadcasting, as such increased funding would create government-funded competition against all other broadcasters, including Christian nonprofit, non-commercial stations.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: February 16, 2018


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