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Public Broadcasters Applaud $40M Funding Increase Vote

APTS
(Image credit: APTS)

WASHINGTON—A House subcommittee this week approved President Biden’s $40 million increase in funding for public broadcasting for FY2023. The vote from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on the $565 million in advance funding drew praise from .America’s Public Television Stations.

“America’s Public Television Stations are most grateful that the subcommittee has recommended $565 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, an increase of $40 million,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations. “After a decade of level funding, resulting in $100 million in lost purchasing power, this legislation would go a very long way toward restoring that purchasing power — and with it our ability to provide the educational services, the public safety communications, the civic literacy and the beloved programming which millions of Americans need and value.

“While this is the first step in this year’s appropriations process, it is a big step in the right direction, and we are most grateful to subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Ranking Member Tom Cole for being such strong champions of public broadcasting.

APTS also applauded the subcommittee’s decision to add $60 million in funding for upgrading and maintaining network facilities.

“We are also appreciative that the subcommittee has recommended increased funding of $60 million in FY 2023 for station interconnection, the backbone of the public broadcasting system, supporting nationwide emergency alerting, providing local stations with national programming, connecting stations with each other, and creating operational efficiencies," Butler said. This account also supports important system-wide digital infrastructure and is essential to addressing cybersecurity, content delivery networks, and data management, among other needs.

Butler also reiterated public broadcasting's important role in providing public safety communications and educational initiatives particularly in rural communities.

“The federal investment in public broadcasting is critical to local public television stations’ public service mission, and to ensuring that everyone, everywhere, every day has access to these essential services for free," he said.

“This mission includes remote learning services in all 50 States, providing a datacasting communications bridge for students without adequate access to broadband, working with federal, State and local governments on public safety communications ranging from early earthquake warning to National Guard readiness, connecting government officials directly with their constituents on health information and other issues, and chronicling the history, culture and public affairs of hometown America.

“America’s public television stations are ready to do more, to help revolutionize education in a post-pandemic America, to train more of America’s adults for the employment opportunities available in their communities,  to expand our work in civil defense, to create a more well-informed citizenry that considers issues in a civil and constructive manner, and to use a portion of our licensed spectrum to enhance telehealth, national security, Smart Cities connections, transportation efficiency, precision agriculture and more.

“The broad support for public media funding among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress reflects the overwhelming support of the American people for our service in communities throughout America, and we couldn’t be more proud of the subcommittee’s confidence in our work.

“We await further word on funding for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports the creation and distribution of educational media content to millions of children across America. This program has been proven to help close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. We remain hopeful that Ready To Learn’s essential work will continue to be supported through full funding.

“In the meantime, we are most grateful to the full membership of the subcommittee for the critical support they have demonstrated today for the work of America’s public television station,” Butler said.

Tom Butts
Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.