APTS: We Need Ready To Learn and Digital Funds

Praises President's commitment to noncoms, but has issues with some budget decisions
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The Association of Public Television Stations had a couple of bones to pick with The President's proposals for noncom funding.

While the Corporation for Public Broadcasting got the $445 million it asked for in the just-released budget--which now goes to the Congress for its input--there were some disappointing cuts for APTS.

APTS President Patrick Butler said he was pleased that CPB's ask was not pared back and that the President continued to show "steadfast support" for public broadcasting. Indeed, the President's own budget cutting advisory panel of a couple years back proposed cutting out funding all together.

But Butler said he was disappointed that the budget again recommends that the Ready To Learn program be moved under the general DOE budget rather than having its own allocation. Last year's budget also made the same recommendation, which was excised by Congress. "We look forward to preserving Ready To Learn as a stand-alone service that does exactly what it was intended to do, and does it very well."

Butler also took issue with the President's plan to cut $2 million from the Department of Agriculture's Rural Digital Program, which helps rural stations. "[W]e will make every effort to see this program continued while the need exists," he said. "Although stations are now transmitting their primary signal in digital, many stations have not yet been able to fully convert all their studio and production equipment to digital, which impairs their ability to continue to produce quality local programming and offer multicast," said an APTS spokesperson.

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