The Association of Public Television Stations said Monday that while government funding may only be about 15% of noncommercial TV stations' budgets, it is a crucial 15%.
Interim APTS president Lonna Thompson was joining the defense of noncommercial media against calls by some Republican legislators to cut back or defund the service in the wake of NPR's firing of Juan Williams.
"[T]hat 15 percent is the most important funding in their budgets because stations use this funding to leverage independent fundraising and support important areas that often aren't covered by foundation funding, corporate underwriting and other revenue sources," Thompson said Monday.
She said they were particularly important to local stations in "the most underserved communities" during the current recession. "So long as it remains unprofitable to invest in programming that does not reach the highest expected audience numbers in the most favored demographic categories, ignoring community needs, commercial television will not play that role."