House Panel Proposes Cuts in Public Broadcasting

A House Appropriations panel has recommended major cuts to federal funding for public broadcasting, totaling 46 percent for television and radio.

John Lawson, CEO, Association of Public Television Stations, called the proposed actions a direct attack on public television and radio.

Funding cuts include the digital conversion of stations, funding for the satellite interconnection system that distributes PBS and the successful "Ready to Learn" program--which included the controversial "Postcards from Buster" children's cartoon, "Sesame Street, " "Reading Rainbow" and other educational programs.

"In addition to targeting 'Ready to Learn,' the subcommittee effectively threatened public broadcasting's editorial freedom by proposing to rescind $100 million from the advance appropriation the Corporation for Public Broadcasting received in 2004," Lawson said.

Also on the chopping block are grants to local station operations and national programming through the CPB and advanced funding for CPB, which for 30 years was put in place to protect public broadcasting from public abuse, according to an APTS news release.

In previous years, Lawson said, the program received strong bipartisan support and the Bush Administration recommended level funding of $23 million.