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Thursday, March 7, 2013

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. Congressional policymakers are increasingly interested in the federal role in supporting CPB due to concerns over the federal debt, the role of the federal government funding for public radio and television, and whether public broadcasting provides a balanced and nuanced approach to covering news of national interest.

It is also important to note that many congressional policymakers defend the federal role of funding public broadcasting. They contend that it provides news and information to large segments of the population that seek to understand complex policy issues in depth, and in particular for children’s television broadcasting, has a significant and positive impact on early learning and education for children.

On June 20, 2012, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting released a report, Alternative Sources of Funding for Public Broadcasting Stations. The report was undertaken in response to the conference report accompanying the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Appropriations Act of 2012 (incorporated into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY2012, H.R. 2055, P.L. 112-74). The CPB engaged the consulting firm of Booz & Company to explore possible alternatives to the federal appropriation to CPB. Among its findings, the report stated that ending federal funding for public broadcasting would severely diminish, if not destroy, public broadcasting service in the United States.

On September 28, 2012, President Obama signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) of federal funding for FY2013 into law (H.J.Res. 117, P.L. 112-175). It maintains CPB’s advanced appropriations for FY2013 at $445 million from October 1, 2012, through October 1, 2013.

Date of Report: Febrary 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: RS22168
Price: $29.95

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