President Trump’s proposed budget eliminates funding for public media and the arts. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is the nonprofit agency that primarily channels funding for programming and operations to local public radio and TV stations nationwide. Additional funds go to National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), who supply programming to thousands of local affiliates including Michigan Public Broadcasters.
The federal investment in CPB is $1.35 per citizen per year, which public media turns into $6.00 through their individual local fundraising efforts and grants. Unlike several other states, Michigan does not fund Public Media. It would be very difficult and impossible for some to operate without this funding. On average this federal funding, represents between 15-17% of Michigan’s Public Media stations income.
On average, federal funding only represents approximately 16% of Michigan’s Public Media stations income. While it is a small percentage, it would be nearly impossible to make it up from other sources.
Public Media serves the nation with local news and information, children’s programming, in particular pre-school, distance learning, town hall events, classical entertainment and educational programming. For many, their local Public Media is the only access to classical music, symphony, opera, art and classical theater. Many public TV stations provide distance learning that rural schools could not provide. If CPB funding is removed, who will fill that void?
Why is this so important to commercial broadcasters? In the past it has been suggested that commercial broadcasters could be required to offer more community interest programming, locally produced programs, classical entertainment and children’s programs. Some in Congress suggested that commercial broadcasters could be taxed to support public media. Faced with a deficit, Public Media stations would increasingly turn to local underwriting to make up lost revenue. None of these ideas are suitable.
MAPB is asking for your help to preserve federal funding for public media. You can go to protectmypublicmedia.org and sign the petition to fund public media, place a PBS Button on your personal Facebook profile, or editorialize about the value of public media in the over all media landscape of Michigan.