Public Radio & TV (De)funded??? UPDATE: NPR Defunded.
Remember the post about the Local Community Radio Act Passed? Well, weeks later there's been a blow to keeping public media alive. February 19, the House has passed a bill that cuts ALL financing for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for the year 2013, according to a report from the New York Times. While President Obama is trying to increase funding for the CPB, $6 mill increase according to NY Times, "a collective $75.8 million for other public media initiatives, like the Dept. of Education's Ready to Learn Program, was eliminated from the President's budget."
Does the Corporation for Public Broadcasting sound familiar? (HINT: you might hear it at the end of every show on PBS or NPR) Well, CPB is responsible for a chunk of PBS' and NPR's funding. This includes such amazing broadcasts as All Songs Considered, World Cafe, hell, even Arthur and The Diane Rehm Show!!!
While small town public radio has protection with the latest Local Community Radio Act, big-time national public radio and TV is about to suffer! Sure, things can change between now and 2013 (including the whole 2012 thing), but the last thing we need is the process in eliminating radio and TV that has always been for the people. Think of how many times news was broke thanks to NPR? How much you learned from the oh-so-neighborly Mister Rodgers? Happy Trees, anyone? Let's not talk about Reading Rainbow.... And then radio: although NPR itself is enough to lose, what about the massive amounts of job creation that came from NPR (also the ample internship programs provided by them)? A cut from the government's funding would harm the hell out of public radio!
NPR isn't sitting quietly on this issue. While an NPR exec has been caught in a sting video saying that eventually public media will be better off without federal funding, the PMA (an initiative between NPR and the Association of Public Television Stations) has shown outrage regarding the House bill. "To dismantle a public broadcasting system that 170 million Americans regularly rely on for lifelong learning, in-depth news and public affairs programming, and world class - all for the sake of reducing one year's federal budget deficit by less than three thousandths of one percent - is to recklessly defy the will of the American people, who routinely rank public broadcasting just behind national defense as the best use of taxpayer dollars," PMA President Patrick Butler said on NPR's website.
Although there is some truth in the possibility of public media without federal funding, it is scary to see how fast Congress is pulling out assistance from corporate public entities like CPB, NPR and PBS. It's like when it comes to eliminating funds - even if it's 3/1000 of 1% of the federal budget deficit that is dedicated toward educational and cultural programming - the government is becoming a bit too scissor-happy for things the people value the most.
Fortunately, you can act now by signing a petition made by MoveOn.org that states "Congress must protect NPR and PBS and guarantee them permanent funding, free from political meddling."
UPDATE 03/17/11 at 3:28 p.m.: TODAY, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTED 228-192 TO BAR NPR FROM RECEIVING ANY MORE FEDERAL FUNDS. MORE HERE!
Oh, and by the way, All Songs has been streaming outrageously amazing performances and uploading some of the best video footage from SXSW so broke-arses like me can witness the glorious festivities. Yeah.