|For Immediate Release
November 16, 2010
Washington, D.C. – National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) says that something important is missing in the debate over federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Last week, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended zero-funding the CPB, which includes National Public Radio (NPR) and PBS (television). This suggestion has been made repeatedly since 1994, yet CPB has not only retained its federal funding, but in the last year prominent Members of Congress, academicians, and others have suggested just the opposite: asking Congress to increase tax dollars to “super-fund” public broadcasting. Rather than creating a giant government-run media elite, NRB suggests that the government turn its attention to the needs of a huge, underappreciated resource: non-commercial religious broadcasters.
“For nearly one hundred years, the community of American non-profit organizations has been a great engine of generosity, hope, and good works. Yet, we see a steadily growing call for ‘government-directed’ charity, of which public broadcasting is the poster-child,” notes NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright. Craig Parshall, NRB’s Sr. VP and General Counsel, agrees. “While some are saying that public broadcasters like NPR and PBS are the only trusted media outlets, they are forgetting one crucial component of the non-profit media world: non-commercial religious broadcasters, and in particular, Christian radio and television.”
“These donor-driven broadcasters do not receive a dime of tax money, yet they serve the public interest,” continues Parshall. “Not only do they reach the spiritual need of millions of Americans, but they also meet local needs in a myriad of ways, like spreading the news about homeless shelters, soup kitchens, rescue missions, reading and school programs, anti-crime groups, crisis pregnancy centers, military support programs, and humanitarian organizations that help children and families around the globe.”
NRB suggests two proposals to address the current policy inequities. “First,” says Parshall, “non-profit religious broadcasters should be given more latitude to raise funds on-air for other legitimate, non-profit groups; second, non-commercial religious stations need fewer constraints in seeking program sponsorship from corporate and business underwriters. In both cases, current FCC regulations make it extremely difficult for non-profit religious radio and television to function as effectively as they should. We are not asking for financial bailouts, we are simply asking to be bailed out of the ‘lock up’ of federal rules that keep us from competing with the likes of NPR and PBS.”
Dr. Wright concurs. “As a two-decade veteran of Capitol Hill, one constant is readily observable in the corridors of congressional power: almost everyone seems to be looking for a handout. NRB members, by contrast, want nothing from government except the defense of our First Amendment freedoms and maximum flexibility in exercising those freedoms in pursuit of our calling.”
“The maxim that the best government is closest to the people applies here,” concludes Dr. Wright. “If we can cast off the fetters of unnecessary government restraint, we can help unlock that American spirit of compassion and goodwill that has been such a blessing to our nation and, indeed, the entire world.”
Click here to download a 60-second audio actuality calling on Congress to implement changes that benefit non-commercial not-for-profit radio and television and the communities they serve. Click here for the same audio without background music. Click here to access a more detailed discussion of these suggestions, offered by Craig Parshall at the FCC’s Future of Media panel discussion on “Public and Other Noncommercial Media in the Digital Era," April 30, 2010.
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to keep the doors of electronic media open for the spread of the Gospel. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Learn more at www.nrb.org.
About The NRB Convention
The annual Convention & Exposition is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assist those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic Exposition consists of nearly 300 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their organizations. NRB 2011 is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, February 26 – March 1, 2011. For registration and other Convention information go to: www.nrbconvention.org.
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