WASHINGTON, D.C. - January 17, 2017 - Patrick Butler, president and chief executive officer of America's Public Television Stations (APTS), issued the following statement today:
"America's Public Television Stations are most grateful to House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee for her introduction of legislation to roll back a recent FCC Media Bureau order requiring non-commercial educational television stations to provide ‘ownership’ information to the Commission.
"As we have tried to make plain to the Commission, there are no individual ‘owners’ of local public broadcasting stations. The public owns our stations, which operate as licensees of communities, States, universities or school districts. To mischaracterize such unpaid volunteers as owners and require them to submit sensitive personal information to the FCC is a pointless exercise that advances no identifiable public interest. This intrusion would also have a lasting and chilling effect on the ability of our stations to attract high-quality candidates to their boards.
"We strongly support the goal of ensuring that diverse viewpoints and perspectives are available to the American people over the broadcast airwaves. This is the mandate of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and one we are proud to fulfill every day.
"But the proposed 'ownership' reporting requirements simply do not recognize or reflect the unique governance structure and organization of public broadcasting licensees.
"We deeply appreciate Chairman Blackburn’s support and her recognition of the special nature of public television, which provides essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership in communities across America. We salute her strong leadership on this issue and look forward to working with Congress and the FCC to reverse this misbegotten order.”
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and providing essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.