Guest Column: PBS, NPR funding under attack

From 170 million AmericansTM For Public Broadcasting website,

Please be very concerned about all of the recent attempts and various pieces of legislation (H.R. 68, H.R. 69, H.R. 235, H.R. 408 and S. 178) that seek to eliminate funding for public broadcasting. Urge your U.S. senators and congressmen to oppose these pieces of legislation and any further efforts to cut or eliminate funding for this essential community resource.

Local public television and radio stations are critically important to the 170 million Americans who access public broadcasting services each month. The small cost per person—annually $1.35 per citizen—is far outweighed by the benefits derived from having a strong public broadcasting system to address local community needs and provide services unmet elsewhere.

Public broadcasting is one of the most successful public/private partnerships in America, with $6 in local support matching every $1 invested by the federal government. Cutting off federal dollars would have a cascade effect that would be catastrophic to the millions of people who use public broadcasting every day.

More than 1,000 local public television and radio stations exist in America, representing some of the last locally-owned, locally-staffed and locally-programmed media outlets in this country. These stations are in every community across the country and employ some 21,000 people.

Public broadcasting is an essential service to the American people—not a “luxury,” as some contend. Without public broadcasting, communities would lose access to the safe haven of children’s non-commercial educational content, the in-depth news and public affairs programming, access to the world of arts and cultural locally, nationally and internationally, and the local voice that weaves the diverse perspectives of American communities together.

In addition to the unparalleled programming offered by local public broadcasters, local stations are maximizing digital technology and their universal reach to provide critical resources to local communities. For example, public radio stations provide reading services for the blind, public television stations partner with state and local departments of education to provide teachers with online educational resources aligned with state standards, and both television and radio stations provide critical and targeted emergency communications in the wake of a disaster. Without federal funding, these critical resources will disappear, disenfranchising millions of Americans who depend on these services.

The minimal federal investment in public broadcasting stations ensures free and universal access to an array of high-quality, educational, non-commercial content and services. These services are too valuable to lose.

We are sure, as a constituent who highly values the programming and services of local public broadcasters, urge your U.S. senators and congressmen to oppose any efforts to cut funding for public broadcasting.

For a copy of this petition to sign, go to

From the Feb. 16-21, 2011, issue

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