CPB, APTS Call Trump’s Budget ‘Devastating’ to Public Media

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump released his proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year on Monday. According to CPB, the proposed budget would rescind all but $15 million in funding for public media in both FY2019 and FY2020.

Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the CPB, released the following statement in response to the president’s budget proposal:

“Americans place great value on having universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services, provided commercial free and free of charge. Since there is no viable substitute for federal funding that would ensure this valued service continues, the elimination of federal funding to CPB would at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts and public affairs programs.

[House Subcommittee Recommends Full CPB Funding]

“Public media benefits all Americans—whether they live in small towns, rural communities or large urban areas. Americans rely on public media for high-quality educational and informational programs that are proven to get their children ready to learn, and that provide opportunities for lifelong learning, such as ‘Frontline,’ ‘NOVA,’ ‘Nature’ and ‘American Experience.’ Federal funding allows public media to continue to tell America’s changing story in a way that enhances civic engagement and connects us to one another.

“Our nation’s non-commercial public media is made possible by a uniquely American, entrepreneurial, public-private partnership. Federal funding is the foundation of that partnership and a recognition of the proven benefits delivered to the American people through public media. The partnership continues with local stations doing their part, working with their communities to complete the funding process.

“We will continue to raise awareness in Congress and the Administration about the valued content and services local public television and radio stations provide to their communities and the vital role federal funding plays in supporting them.”

APTS President and CEO Patrick Butler also released a statement sharing his “disappointment” in Trump’s budget proposal. He echoed Harrison’s statements that public media is a vital part of education for America’s children and serves as a key resource of public safety information.

[CPB Offering $500,000 in Grants for Public Media Stations]

“Fortunately, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, and the overwhelming majority of their constituents, understand these contributions—and our impressive return on the investment of one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget—very well,” Butler said in his statement. “We are grateful that Congress approved full funding for public broadcasting in FY2017, and we are hopeful that Congress will continue its support for public broadcasting in the final appropriations bills for FY2018, FY2019 and beyond.

The president had previously proposed to zero out CPB’s budget, as well as the National Endowment for the arts, for the FY2018, but Congress voted down those parts of the proposal.