The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has added its voice
to the noncommercial broadcasters concerned with some cuts in the president's
proposed 2011 budget released Monday (Feb. 1).
In a letter to "colleagues," CPB President Pat
Harrison said she was grateful for the appropriation noncoms did get, including
the two-year forward funding that helps insure editorial independence, but she
was concerned about the effort to zero out about $25 million in "critical
infrastructure" grants currently funded through the Departments of
Commerce and Education, as well as to cut the funding to the Ready To Learn and
Ready To Teach programs.
Harrison said the former two programs provide "the
primary source for telecommunications infrastructure assistance for public
radio and television stations, particularly in under-served rural areas"
and help rural stations expand their digital services, the latter in a world
where expanding digital offerings is considered one of the prices of admission
to full participation in the media's future.
The latter two were programs funded through the Department
of Education to provide basic reading skills to low-income children. Together,
the programs were funded at $38 million in 2010.
In the past, the Bush administration and congressional
Republicans tried to zero out Ready to Learn funding in the wake of criticisms
of one of its programs, but the funding was eventually restored and the program
revamped to focus more on curriculum-based education.