Search Penny Hill Press

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding and Issues

Glenn J. McLoughlin
Section Research Manager

Mark Gurevitz
Information Research Specialist

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives virtually all of its funding through federal appropriations; overall, about 15% of all public television and radio broadcasting funding comes from the federal appropriations that CPB distributes. CPB’s appropriation is allocated through a distribution formula established in its authorizing legislation and has historically received two-year advanced appropriations. For FY2011, the CPB appropriation is $430 million, and for FY2012 it will be $445 million (passed as a part of the FY2009 and FY2010 appropriation bills, respectively). The Obama Administration has requested $451 million for the F2012 appropriations request (which would go into effect in FY2014). However, to date there have been a series of Continuing Resolutions (CRs), which not only have impacted federal funding for the current year (FY2011) but also the two-year advanced appropriations for CPB.

On Wednesday, October 20, 2010, Juan Williams, a news analyst working as an independent contractor for National Public Radio (NPR), was fired for comments he made on the Fox News Channel regarding Muslims, as well as previous incidents that apparently conflicted with Mr. Williams’s contract. Since this incident, some have questioned the process and fairness of this firing, which in turn has raised questions about any federal funding that supports NPR policies and programs. A subsequent review of this incident resulted in the NPR Board of Directors announcing, on January 6, 2011, a set of recommendations to NPR’s existing codes of conduct. In addition to announcing these recommendations, NPR’s Senior Vice President for News, Ellen Weiss, resigned her position. The board also announced that Vivian Schiller, president and CEO of NPR Inc., did not receive a bonus for 2010.

On January 5, 2011, Representative Lamborn introduced legislation to end federal appropriations for CPB and NPR starting in FY2013 (H.R. 68 and H.R. 69). Both bills have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In addition, on March 4, 2011, the fourth Continuing Resolution for FY2011 will expire. To address that, on February 19, 2011, the House passed H.R. 1, a fifth CR that would extend through the end of FY2011, which does not include federal appropriations for public broadcasting for FY2011, nor an advanced approrpriation for CPB in FY2013.

Date of Report: February 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: RS22168
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.