New York Democratic Reps. Paul Tonko, Bill Owens and Nita Lowey are among the advocates for public broadcasting, which has a wide and diverse audience in the Capital Region. Tonko called the proposed cut “drastically extreme and painfully irresponsible.”
“These proposed cuts for Public Broadcasting threaten to silence stations all over the country that provide alternative, community-based programming and a strong, independent journalistic voice,” said Tonko.
Public broadcasting received $420 million in funding in 2010. In President Obama’s budget released Monday, it would receive $445 million in 2012, increasing to $451 million in 2014.
CPB gave more than $35 million of its federal funding to New York, of which Albany received $776,790.
CPB stations operate on both grants and allocations from the federal government combined with fundraising from private organizations and individuals. Tonko called it CPB stations’ ability to stay afloat in the tough economy a “stellar example as to the depth and meaning of public-private partnerships.”
Tonko claim that WMHT, which oversees NPR and PBS in his district, raised 3 to 4 times the private sector funds for ever public dollar invested in their most recent funding drive.
NPR and PBS have local stations set up all over the country, which contribute regional programming as well as sharing national programming. Many of the representatives said they worried the funding would lead to less regional reporting that people can’t get anywhere else.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said many stations, especially in metropolitan areas, would not suffer as much from the loss of funding, but those reaching rural and small-town areas wouldn’t be able to function.
“Public broadcasting is an electronic oasis for learning in what has been called the vast wasteland of commercial television,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.