© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The Jefferson Journal is JPR's members' magazine featuring articles, columns, and reviews about living in Southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as articles from NPR. The magazine also includes program listings for JPR's network of stations.

Tuned In: Federal Funding For Public Broadcasting … What’s Next?

It’s budget season in Washington, D.C. and that usually means some amount of drama. While the season is still relatively young, already the House Appropriations Committee may soon consider a draft bill that would call for the elimination of all federal funding for public broadcasting.

We’ve been down this road before, and it’s worth remembering how federal funding for public radio and television works in the U.S.:

  • During the past fiscal year, federal support for both public radio and television totaled $465 million, an amount equal to about $1.40 per American.
  • Funding is allocated in the budget process via appropriation bills approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the President.  Funding for public broadcasting is contained in separate House and Senate Labor, Health/Human Services and Education appropriation bills.
  • Approved funding is distributed through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a nonprofit organization that was established as part of The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 to facilitate the growth and development of public broadcasting to provide instructional, educational, and cultural programming.
  • By statute, more than 70% of CPB's annual federal appropriation goes directly to approximately 1,500 local public media stations to provide operational support. CPB administers annual community service grants, evaluates station effectiveness and ensures accountability to Congress and the President.  CPB’s administrative overhead is very low at less than 5% of federal funding.
  • 251 of the total 549 CPB grantees are considered rural, based on population density.  In recent years, CPB has shifted its strategic direction to prioritize distributing more resources to rural stations.  Rural stations depend more on CPB funding than urban stations and face some very specific challenges, such as smaller and less wealthy donor populations and higher engineering and broadcasting costs that result from operating multiple transmitters and translators in order to reach relatively small communities in more remote areas.
  • Federal support for public broadcasting is designed to provide core funding for locally-governed public media stations and be a catalyst for private philanthropic support. Each year, over $8 is raised in private contributions for every $1 of federal support.

During the past fiscal year, JPR’s annual grant from CPB amounted to approximately 13% of our operating budget. Without this stable funding source, it would be very difficult for us to sustain the level of service we currently provide.
We encourage you to share your views about continuing federal support for JPR and other public radio and television stations around the country. Here’s how:

  •  Register for updates at the Protect My Public Media website at protectmypublicmedia.org.  When hearings are held or further developments take place you’ll be informed via email and will be in a position to call or write your elected officials at critical times in the budget process.
  • Use social media to share a powerful story or an inspired piece of music you’ve heard on JPR – also share the protectmypublicmedia.org website.
  • Make a personal contribution and urge others to support JPR and the public radio and TV stations you listen to and watch—local support remains crucial as we plan our service during uncertain times. It’s easy to donate at ijpr.org.

Thank you for your loyal and generous support of JPR’s mission. Our commitment to creating a more informed public through fact-based journalism and fostering the discovery and preservation of music has never been stronger.

Paul Westhelle oversees management of JPR's service to the community.  He came to JPR in 1990 as Associate Director of Broadcasting for Marketing and Development after holding jobs in non-profit management and fundraising for a national health agency. He's a graduate of San Jose State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications.