firing of Juan Williams. Yesterday we also learned that cuts to CPB were part of the proposed $200 billion in spending cuts identified by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.This time, the fires seem to have been fanned by NPR’s (National Public Radio)
So I did some math, based on the most recent public broadcasting appropriations. (This is not “per-taxpayer” ciphering—the numbers are based on “total population” and include everyone, even our kids). What I found is that even in these fiscally challenging times, public broadcasting is still a heckuva good deal.
If you are a typical taxpayer, you probably pay less for public broadcasting than you realize! On average, each Minnesotan invests just $1.76 per year—total—both federal and state—to help support our national and state public broadcasting systems.
Here are the nuts and bolts of how public support for public broadcasting breaks down for us in Minnesota:
On the federal level:
The total CPB appropriation for FY11 is $430,000,000
The CPB subtracts its own operating costs (about 11%) and then distributes what’s left (89%) to stations and program producers.
• 75% of what’s left goes to TV.
• 25% goes to radio (by that formula, $95,675,000 will go to public radio stations and programs in FY11).
The population of the US (estimated as of 11/11/10) is 310,681,000 people.
In the State of Minnesota, the entire public broadcasting budget for 2011 is $2,015,000.
For AMPERS stations only (like KAXE), that investment is 7.3¢ per person per year.
Here’s what we get for our investment: The money that goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is used to help fund 1,214 independent, nonprofit TV and radio stations like KAXE across the US. The stations use their federal dollars to leverage six times that amount in programming and services, creating 17,000 jobs in the American economy.
We also get educational and entertaining programs created by trusted news and production organizations like NPR, PRI and PBS, including Car Talk, Sesame Street, Nova, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. In a Harris poll conducted in 2005, NPR and PBS were named the most trusted news sources in the United States by the general public. NPR and PBS receive most of their funding from stations. Only a tiny part of their budgets come from government sources.
In Minnesota, our long-time investment in public broadcasting helps keep stations relevant and vital. It helps Minnesota Public Radio buy critical new equipment. It supports public television stations in the Twin Cities, Appleton, Austin, Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth and Hibbing. For AMPERS stations like KAXE, it is used for operations and infrastructure, which underpin our ability to create meaningful programming for our local communities. State funds help us employ local people, and form a basis for pulling in additional matching funds.
I hope you agree that we squeeze a lot out of your investment. Public broadcasting is a treasure that is available to everyone. Please keep this in mind as the federal and state budget year unfolds!
Maggie Montgomery, General Manager
Northern Community Radio
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