What Could Happen to Federal Funding for Public Media and Why It Matters

As you may know, the Trump administration just released a 2018 fiscal-year budget outline that calls for the elimination of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). CPB is the largest source of funding for public media in the country, and its survival is critical for New England Public Radio and our sister public media stations across the country. Here are some facts:

What is CPB's role in public broadcasting?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is distinct from both NPR and PBS. It’s not a broadcaster, but a private corporation created by Congress in 1967 with two primary functions: to serve as a firewall between partisan politics and public broadcasting, and to help fund programming, stations and technology.

Why does public broadcasting need federal funding?

Federal funding is essential to the mix that supports public broadcasting.   In some parts of the country public broadcasting is the only place for national and international news, and cultural programming, and yet local financial resources are so limited that CPB is critical to the survival of local public broadcasters.  Nationally and in Western Massachusetts, federal funding supports universal access to high-quality, non-commercial programming that informs and enriches the public.

There have been previous attempts to eliminate CPB funding, but listeners have repeatedly told Congress that the public-private partnership that supports public broadcasting is part of the fabric of America and vital to democracy. We’ve been here before and yet preserved federal funding for public broadcasting and with your help we can again.  Thank you for your support.

How much CPB funding does New England Public Radio receive?

NEPR receives about $360,000 annually from CPB (about 7% of our budget), which we use to pay for programs from NPR like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. In addition, NEPR benefits from CPB’s support of the satellite system that brings NPR programs to us, the music use rights it pays for, and other essential resources that would require us to raise $150,000 a year to cover.  In total, if CPB were to go away, we would have to raise an additional $510,000 a year to make up the loss.

What would happen if New England Public Radio lost CPB funding?

NEPR’s CPB funding has a direct impact on what we are able to accomplish in local programming in any given year. There is no question that a cut in this funding would have a dramatic effect on our listeners. Currently, we use our CPB grant to pay for NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. If funding were cut, we’d be forced to pay for our most listened to programs with other funds at the expense of local programming and community outreach, two crucial tenets of our mission.

What can you do?
Many of you have contacted us to ask what you can do to support NEPR. Here’s a list of ways to make your voice heard.

  1. Call or write your elected officials and tell them how much you value NEPR.
  2. Make a personal gift and urge others to support NEPR and other local public radio and TV stations – your financial support is so important.
  3. Sign Protect My Public Media’s petition to show your support of public media.