APTS Applauds Increase in Funding for Public Broadcasting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 21, 2020 – House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a $10 million increase in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, providing funding of $475 million in fiscal year 2023. The House of Representatives formally approved the increase today as part of a package of appropriations bills to fund the federal government in fiscal year 2021. The Senate is expected to vote on the funding package later today.

"America's Public Television Stations are grateful for this increase in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which continues the process of restoring the nearly $100 million in purchasing power public broadcasting has lost in a decade of frozen funding," said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America's Public Television Stations.

“This increase will enable public television stations to educate more children, protect more lives and property, and enable more well-informed citizens to guide the world’s most important democracy.

“As millions of students were suddenly homebound when schools were forced to close earlier this year, public television stations in all 50 States immediately launched free remote learning services, devoting their entire daytime broadcast schedules to age-appropriate educational programming and ensuring that families could continue their children’s education regardless of their ability to access the internet.

“In partnership with States and local school districts, public television stations provided standards-based, curriculum-aligned educational content everywhere and began construction of a datacasting bridge across the digital divide for students without internet access. We’re ready to do more, to help ensure students are not left behind as the pandemic continues and to revolutionize the future of education in America.

“This additional funding will also enable us to expand our public safety services, ranging from early earthquake warning in California to school shooting scenarios in the Midwest to over-water emergency communications off the Atlantic coast. Public television stations provide the backbone for presidential communications with the American people in times of national emergency, link local law enforcement and first responder agencies with one another and with the public, and partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to use public television’s broadcast signal to enhance public safety communications through datacasting.

“And public television stations provide essential civic leadership to America’s communities through initiatives ranging from serving as the “C-SPAN” of State governments to hosting candidate debates at every level of the ballot, to combating the opioid crisis with community partners, to telling the stories of hometown America as no one else can.

“As our stations voluntarily adopt the new ATSC 3 Next Gen broadcast standard, and if we are able to deploy datacasting technology at our stations nationwide, we will have spectrum available to do even more – in telehealth, Smart Cities connections, precision agriculture, homeland security and other important public service missions.

“Importantly, this legislation also provides level funding of $20 million in FY 2021 for station interconnection, the backbone of the public broadcasting system, supporting nationwide emergency alerting, providing local stations with national programming, connecting stations with each other, and creating operational efficiencies.

“And it provides $29.5 million, an increase of $500,000 in FY 2021 for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television’s essential work -- on-air, online and on-the-ground -- in early childhood education, to help build science, math and literacy skills of children between the ages of two and eight. Public television content created through Ready To Learn grants has been proven to help close the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers.

“The bipartisan support for public media funding in Congress reflects the overwhelming support of the American people for our service in communities across the country.

“We are grateful to House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK), and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and the full bipartisan membership of the Appropriations Committees and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittees, for the critical support they have provided for the work of local public television stations through this funding for CPB, interconnection and Ready To Learn.”


About APTS
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.

Stacey Karp