A budget deal reached over the weekend spares funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and even increases money to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities. President Trump’s budget plans had called for cutting back on the funding for the arts agencies for the rest of 2017, or through September, and proposed eliminating money to the groups in next year’s budget.
Leaders of Virginia’s Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. told community members at a town hall Thursday that they plan to invest the station’s $182 million in spectrum auction winnings in expanded community service and a foundation to promote public media.
Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network will receive $32.6 million in auction proceeds through a complex three-way spectrum deal involving two of its stations — WEDY in New Haven and WEDW in Bridgeport. Both stations will continue broadcasting under channel-sharing arrangements, though details are confidential due to a non-disclosure agreement. Spectrum relinquished by WEDY, which will share channels with WEDW, generated $18.9 million, according to the FCC’s April 13 announcement of auction results.
Vermont PBS is awaiting the fate of its state support after legislators in the House recently reduced its budget line item from $271,000 to $1.
The action is in response to requests from public broadcasters that their officers and board members not be required to submit personal information on ownership reporting forms.
The Los Angeles PBS outlet will continue on air, channel sharing with KSCI, and use its $49 million in auction proceeds to increase investment in PBS and other programming; invest in content production and broadband services on mobile and the web; restructure debt; and create an investment fund that generates annual revenues.
Public television’s spring fundraising rolled out in a heated high-stakes environment for clearly communicating the case for viewer and public support of local stations. Beyond standard pitches for pledge shows, on-air fundraisers had to manage reactions to President Trump’s proposal to zero out CPB funding. In some cases they were called upon to explain why an infusion of spectrum auction cash won’t eliminate the need for local or federal financial support.
The Pacific Mountain Network, once one of four regional public television organizations, is shutting down and transferring its remaining funds to America’s Public Television Stations. APTS will use the $700,000 to create the Bornstein-Pacific Mountain Network Fund for Strategic Communications to “enhance public television’s ability to communicate its value to the public, strategic partners and major funders,” according to APTS.
The West Virginia legislature passed a budget bill that would reduce the state’s subsidy for West Virginia Public Broadcasting by $1 million, stepping back from a Senate proposal to completely zero-out support for WVPB.
At a time when many public broadcasters are being told to reduce their dependence on public money and find new forms of revenue through new subscriptions and grants, Maryland Public Television could be getting more money from the state of Maryland under a pending bill.
The PBS documentarian announced Tuesday that he and two partners will make a two-part, four-hour film about the former heavyweight champ, who died last June.
CPB President Patricia de Stacy Harrison tells Congress that President Trump’s proposal to eliminate its funds would most dramatically affect rural and minority communities, eventually forcing some noncommercial television and radio stations to close.
Public media outlets in Illinois are feeling the effects of a state budget crisis that could be heading into a third year in June. Services classified as nonessential by the state have received no state support for two years. That includes the Illinois Arts Council, which distributed $10 million in state funds to hundreds of organizations in fiscal 2015, including 18 public broadcasters.
The media landscape has changed since the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was chartered, says board member Howard Husock, who claims public media has outlived its original mission.
Joyce MacDonald is leaving CPB to become the new CEO of Greater Public. The announcement brings an end to a two-year search to replace Doug Eichten, who’s led the fundraising collaborative of 240 member stations for 20 years.
Petitions with more than 660,000 signatures to save CPB funding were presented to Congress Tuesday morning after a rally for parents and kids near the Capitol. The event was sponsored by five advocacy organizations including the progressive hub MoveOn.org, media reformer Free Press and ParentsTogether Action, a family issues nonprofit. PBS is not a co-sponsor.
The Media Institute’s Patrick Maines: “PBS and NPR are again the subject of a contentious debate about their taxpayer funding. For years, Republicans and conservatives have accused NPR and PBS of ideological and political bias. Defenders of public broadcasting are on firmer ground when they extol the virtues of the cultural and educational programming found on NPR and PBS. Perhaps Congress would consider legislation that eliminates government support of public broadcasting’s news and public affairs programming, but preserves its support for cultural and educational programs.”
President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal makes him the second president to try to kill funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the first to target the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well. It comes as the Public Broadcasting Act celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Cutting off federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting could devastate stations in smaller markets that already have tight budgets.
President Trump is proposing to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides federal support for public broadcasting, as part of a budget package that makes massive cuts across government agencies while increasing defense spending by $54 billion. The White House will unveil details of a budget outline on Thursday morning, but officials briefed reporters on the plans on Wednesday.
People in public broadcasting expect President Trump to propose “zeroing out” the government’s subsidy of noncommercial radio and TV stations when he presents his first federal budget to Congress this week. Such a proposal would eliminate the $445 million that Congress now sends to CPB, the private entity that passes the money to nearly 1,500 stations affiliated with NPR, PBS and other public media sources.
Current’s latest overview on upcoming public television productions looks ahead at the river of content from PBS signature series, independent producers, minority consortia and public TV stations.
While ratings for the evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC are down compared to February 2016, the venerable PBS NewsHour is growing.
President Trump has withdrawn two nominations for the CPB Board and one for the FCC. Last fall President Obama nominated Brent Nelsen and David Arroyo, both previous CPB directors, to serve through 2020. The two were among 23 nominations withdrawn Tuesday, along with the nomination for FCC commissioner of Jessica Rosenworcel.
Public broadcasters who learned that their TV stations will be moving to new channels during the “repack” phase of the FCC’s spectrum auction are questioning how to manage the costs of the engineering projects, which must be completed no later than the middle of 2020.
America’s Public Television Stations recognized several public broadcasting leaders with awards Wednesday and honored two members of Congress for their advocacy on behalf of the system. Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) each received the Champion of Public Broadcasting award, which recognizes political leaders and others who protect the ability of local public TV stations to provide education, public safety and civic leadership services.
Ward B. Chamberlin Jr., a public broadcasting mandarin who helped set up the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, personally led major stations in New York and Washington and played a critical role in kick-starting the career of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, died Feb. 23 at a retirement community in Bedford, Mass. He was 95.
Though the electorate is divided, both Republicans and Democrats polled in a new PBS-commissioned survey said they support federal funding for public television. The survey of 1,001 registered voters, conducted Jan. 4–8, found that 73% said they opposed the elimination of federal funding for public TV. Eighty-three percent of Democrats did not want funding cuts, along with 82% of independents and 62% of Republicans.