House Committee OKs Advance Funds for Public Broadcasting


What a difference a new Congress makes.

A House Appropriations Subcommittee has not only continued to grant the Corporation for Public Broadcasting advance funding, it has agreed to a $430 million appropriation for FY 2011 that is $10 million more than 2010.

In addition, CPB would get $40 million for the digital-TV transition, $27 million for public radio interconnection, both for FY 2009. It also provides $24 million for the Department of Education-backed Ready To Learn programming project.

CPB had asked for $483 million but was "thrilled" with what it got, said a CPB source. It got all it had requested for the DTV transition and radio interconnection, but $8 million less than the $32 million it wanted for Ready To Learn. The source said CPB was satisfied with the $24 million, which at least was not cut from the same amount it got the year before.

Under previous Republican-controlled congresses, there were ongoing efforts, though ultimately thwarted, to slash public broadcasting's budget and end the forward funding that is meant to insulate public broadcasting from political pressures.

“The subcommittee had to make many difficult decisions in allocating resources given today's extraordinary budgetary pressures," said CPB President Patricia Harrison in a statement. "We appreciate that the bill provides CPB with an advance appropriation, which affords public broadcasters a measure of certainty in their business planning, interconnection funding as well as an increase in funding for digital conversion, which will help public broadcasters tap the potential of digital technology.”

The bill is expected to be marked up in the full committee next week. A Senate version could be marked up as early as next week, as well, according to CPB.