APTS Commends Senate Appropriations Committee for Public Broadcasting Funding in Draft Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 10, 2020 – America’s Public Television Stations today commended the Senate Appropriations Committee for recommending $465 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting but urged Congress to include in the final appropriations bill the $50 million increase for CPB approved by the House of Representatives in July.

“We’re grateful that the Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed to maintain level funding for public broadcasting in a particularly challenging year,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations, “and we also appreciate the Committee’s recommendations of $29 million for Ready To Learn and $20 million to continue our interconnection investment. “As negotiations on FY 2021 funding take place, we hope the $50 million increase for CPB approved by the House of Representatives is included in the final appropriations package.”

“Public television stations have dramatically demonstrated their essential role in public service this year, standing up remote learning services in all 50 States in response to the coronavirus pandemic and using our datacasting capability to provide educational resources to students without broadband connections.

“We’ve done all this with unbudgeted money, as no one could have foreseen this national emergency, and we’ve done it despite having lost almost $100 million in purchasing power over 10 years of level funding by Congress.

“We’re ready to do more, to help revolutionize education in a post-pandemic America as well as expanding our public safety services ranging from early earthquake warning in California to over-water emergency communications off the Atlantic coast,” said Butler. “And as our stations voluntarily adopt the new ATSC 3 Next Gen broadcast standard, and if we are able to invest in datacasting technology at our stations nationwide, we will have spectrum available to do even more – in telehealth, Smart Cities connections, precision agriculture, national security and other important missions of public service.

“The greater the federal investment in this work, the more and better and faster we can do it.

“We’re grateful to the bipartisan leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), committee vice-chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Labor-H subcommittee ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) for the critical support they have provided for the work of local public television stations.

“This federal investment in public broadcasting will pay extraordinary dividends to the American people: a better educated society, safer communities and a more secure country, and a citizenry well prepared to lead the world’s most important democracy. 

“The broad support for public media funding among both Republicans and Democrats in Congress reflects the overwhelming support of the American people for our service in communities across the country, and we are proud of this vote of confidence in our work.”

More than 70 percent of funds committed to CPB go directly to local public television and radio stations in the form of community service grants, under a formula established by law.

The $20 million for station interconnection supports nationwide emergency alerting, provides local stations with national programming, connects stations with each other, and creates operational efficiencies.

The $29 million in FY 2021 for Ready To Learn funds 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. 

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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.

Contact: 
Stacey Karp 
202-654-4222
skarp@apts.org