WASHINGTON – March 23, 2018 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement on the finalization of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget:
“America's Public Television Stations are delighted that Congress has approved legislation providing full funding of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Fiscal Year 2020, $20 million in FY 2018 for an annual interconnection and infrastructure account, and $27.7 million in FY 2018 for the Ready To Learn program, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports public television's essential work – on the air, on-line and on the ground – in early childhood education.
“We are also most grateful for the $1 billion in additional funding that both public and commercial broadcasters need to complete the post-spectrum auction channel repacking on the schedule established by the Federal Communications Commission. Broadcasters and House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden predicted the need for this additional funding even before the spectrum law was enacted, and Congress has now kept its promise to hold broadcasters harmless financially as a portion of broadcast spectrum was being reassigned through the incentive auction to the wireless telecommunications industry. These funds -- $600 million in FY 2018 and $400 million forward funded in FY 2019 -- will help ensure that television viewers will not be inconvenienced, or left without service, as this transition is completed.
“Federal funding for public media remains essential to local public television stations’ public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership, and to ensuring that everyone, everywhere in America, every day has access to these essential services for free.
“Public television helps millions of preschool children get ready to learn in school and succeed in life, and supports two million teachers who educate 40 million K-12 students in American classrooms every day.
“Public television delivers essential public safety services, providing the backbone for presidential communications with the American people in times of national emergency, linking local law enforcement and first responder agencies with one another and with the public, and partnering 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 serves as the “C-SPAN” of state governments, hosts candidate debates at every level of the ballot, and produces thousands of hours of programming every year on local public affairs, history and culture.
“We are most grateful to the bipartisan leadership of the Appropriations Committees for providing this critical funding for public broadcasting, most notably Chairmen Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Tom Cole (R-OK), Tom Graves (R-GA), Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ranking Members Patty Murray (D-WA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Mike Quigley (D-IL).
“In addition, we are very appreciative to the House and Senate Commerce Committees for their commitment to resolving the shortfall in funding for reimbursing repacked broadcasters, particularly the indefatigable efforts of Chairmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ranking Members Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) in the House, and Chairmen John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ranking Members Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) in the Senate.
“The broad support for public media funding among both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate reflects the overwhelming support the American people have consistently given to our service in communities across the country, and we couldn’t be more proud of this substantial vote of confidence in our work.”
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.
Contact: Stacey Karp