Public Broadcasting Funding Increases

Posted on Aug 02, 2022

Recently, a US House subcommittee voted to increase funding for public broadcasting by $40 million for the 2023 fiscal year. It would also provide a record $565 million in advance funding through 2025. Broadcasters stated the recommendation restores “$100 million in lost purchasing power.”

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies proposed a $242.1 billion FY2023 funding bill that includes the $60 million in additional funding for radio stations’ interconnection systems and infrastructure. The bill could create jobs, improve education and child care, strengthen public health infrastructure, and push forward equal treatment for women and shows a 13% increase over 2022.

Public broadcasters largely supported the bill. America’s Public Television Stations President and CEO Patrick Butler said, “While this is the first step in this year’s appropriations […], it is a […] step in the right direction, and we are most grateful to subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Ranking Member Tom Cole for being […] strong champions of public broadcasting.”

He went on to say, “After a decade of level funding, resulting in $100 million in lost purchasing power, this legislation would go a […] long way toward restoring that purchasing power, and with it, our ability to provide […] educational services, […] public safety communications, […] civic literacy, and […] beloved programming [that] millions of Americans need and value. The broad support for public media funding among […] Republicans and Democrats […] reflects the overwhelming support of the American people for our service […]. We couldn’t be more proud of the subcommittee’s confidence in our work.”

Butler also spoke about public broadcasting’s crucial role in getting out necessary public safety communications and educational initiatives, especially in the US’s rural communities. This new federal investment in public broadcasting could ensure that Americans can get critical information for free. He stated that local public television stations and their public service mission depend on this type of investment to “ensure that everyone, everywhere, every day has access to these essential services for free.”

Remote learning would also be among the necessary services affected. Bulter stated, “This mission includes remote learning services in all 50 States, providing a datacasting communications bridge for students without adequate access to broadband[…].”

It would also help improve the communication between federal, state, and local governments on public safety communications, ranging from early earthquake warnings to National Guard readiness[…].”

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of this funding, because of the current concerns among Americans, is how it would aid constituents with connecting to government officials on important health information and other crucial social issues. Moreover, Butler states that it would allow broadcasters to continue “chronicling the history, culture, and public affairs of hometown America.”

A Step Toward the Future of Broadcasting

Bulter talked about the future America might see as well. He said, “Public television stations are ready to do more, to help revolutionize education in a post-pandemic America, to train more of [our] adults for the employment opportunities […], to expand our work in civil defense, to create a […] well-informed citizenry that considers issues [civilly and constructively], and to use a portion of our licensed spectrum to enhance telehealth, national security, Smart Cities connections, transportation efficiency, precision agriculture and more.”

There’s also been broad support for this broadcasting funding from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. This act reflects the growing support of the American people for public broadcasting services in communities across the county, especially in smaller and rural areas. The subcommittee’s confidence in the industry is a necessary, positive step forward.

Bulter went on to give more details and said, “We await further word on […] Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports [creating and distributing] educational media content to millions of children […]. This program […] helps close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. We remain hopeful that Ready To Learn’s essential work will continue […] through full funding. In the meantime, we are most grateful to the full membership of the subcommittee for the […] support they have demonstrated […] for […] America’s public television stations.”

Hopefully, everything progresses smoothly, and we can see this enhanced funding bridge the communication gaps in several sectors.


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