CPB Funding Survives


After threats and legislative attempts by Republicans to zero out CPB funding, the continuing resolution that passed the House and Senate Thursday keeps the dollars flowing to noncom stations.

The CR, which funds the government through September, forward funds CPB through 2013 at the annual 2012 figure of $445 million, preserving the two-year forward funding mechanism Republicans had targeted.

Also preserved was a $27.2 million Ready To Learn program funded through the Department of Education, though the final decision on that funding remains at the discretion at DOE.

The Association for Public Television Stations gave a shout-out to over half a million e-mails and thousands of calls from supporters opposing the Republican-backed phase-out, as well as backing from the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

But CPB did not emerge unscathed. The legislation cuts funding in other areas, including $30 million of $36 million for expanding digital technologies; $20 million from zeroing out the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, a Commerce grant that funds noncom TV and radio equipment; and cutting $50 million by zeroing out public radio interconnection and station fiscal stabilization funds.

"The elimination of the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program presents real challenges to public broadcasting stations' commitment to maintain reliable service to all Americans," said APTS in a statement.

CPB's funding appeared in real jeopardy following a confluence of circumstances including the tanked economy, Republican's historic targeting of noncom funding as subsidizing their liberal critics, NPR's firing of commentator Juan Williams, embarrassing statements by NPR fund-raisers as part of a sting operation, and the recommendation of the co-chairs of the President's bipartisan fiscal reform committee to phase-out funding as one of many tough cuts.