Noncoms Concerned About Funding Cuts in Obama's New Budget

Lack of emergency funds for help with economic crisis among issues of concern for CPB, PBS, NPR and APTS

Noncoms are "deeply concerned" about the cuts to their funding in the President's new budget.

In a joint statement, the heads of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS, NPR and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) said they were grateful for what they did get. That was $502 million for CPB, which broke down as $440 million in a two-year advance appropriation for FY 2012 (actually a $10 million increase over 2011); $36 million for digital conversion; $27 million to finish replacing public radio's satellite system, and $25 million for the Ready To Learn project, which funds curriculm-based educational programming/initiatives.

But they were also worried about what they didn't get, including emergency funding they had sought to help stations hit hard by the economic crisis and the resulting fall-off in contributions (the vast majority of money comes from donors, and only about 15% from the government).

"We realize the President had to make many difficult decisions in allocating resources, given the economic situation facing our country," said the presidents of CPB, NPR and PBS, and APTS. "We are, however, deeply concerned that the President’s budget request for FY 2012 falls well short of public broadcasting’s need."
There is also no money for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which has been an infrastructure program under Commerce, or for the Ready To Teach program of the USDA's Rural Digital program, they pointed out.
That USDA program had been one of those singled out by the White House in a release earlier in the day outlining some of the $17 billion in cuts.

"Fortunately, the window of opportunity has not closed, and Congress and the Administration can still make a critical new investment in public broadcasting as the Appropriations Committees begin consideration of their bills in the weeks and months ahead," they added.