About Us

Protect My Public Media is a collaboration of local public radio and television stations, national distributors, producers, viewers, listeners and others who support a strong public media in the United States. The goal of the campaign is to activate our audiences to support federal funding for public media by taking a stand for the local stations and programs they love.

What is Public Media?

Our public media system is unique. It’s a collaboration of 1,300 local non-commercial radio and television stations that work together and with national and local producers and community partners to provide all Americans with access to the best and most trusted non-commercial programming in the country.

Our public media is for everyone. Public media makes a special effort to serve children, minorities, and low-income Americans. It reaches more than 98% of the U.S. population.

Our public media is local. Stations are locally licensed and governed, locally programmed, and locally staffed. In many rural areas, public media is the only source of free local, national and international news, public affairs, and cultural programming.

Our public media makes us and keeps us smart. Investments in children’s educational, cultural, public affairs and news programming, digital classroom resources, teacher training, and distance learning have made public media a leader in lifelong learning.

Our public media engages more than half of all Americans every month. 170 million Americans connect through over 360 public television stations, 900 public radio stations, hundreds of online resources, in-person events and  on-the-ground services.

Our public media costs less than a cup of coffee. Annually, the federal contribution to public media amounts to $1.35 per American.

Our public media system is one of the most effective public/private partnerships in America. For every dollar local stations receive from the federal government, they are able to raise six dollars from local sources to provide their listeners and viewers with the best programming and services.

Our public media reflects our values, not the interests of advertisers.  Public media is the only commercial free media outlet, which is why it’s so highly trusted by the American people.

Our public media is more important than ever. The rapidly changing media environment is making public media more vital as a source of unbiased news, local cultural programming, and non-commercial educational programs designed to enhance the quality of life of our local communities. Public media is a source of children’s programming, public affairs, music, and cultural information that is rarely provided by other sources.

Our public media makes us better citizens. The free flow of ideas and debate helps us participate in the political process as informed citizens.

Our public media provides necessary programming for parents and children. Year after year, parents overwhelmingly agree that public media is a trusted and safe place for their children to watch television. Research proves that public media’s content enables children to succeed in the classroom.

Our public media embraces the digital future. Public media content is now available through broadcast, cable, satellite, satellite radio, the Internet and wireless devices. Public media is committed to being where their listeners and viewers are in the changing media environment. Local stations partner with educators, museums, libraries and other community organizations to make great content available to the public for free on mobile devices and online. They are teaming up with start-ups and innovators to break new ground in educational and informational materials.

Our public media plays music that can’t be found anywhere else on the dial. Local stations take creative risks, nurture new talent, and discover emerging artists. They are one of the only remaining sources of broadcast jazz and classical music in the country. And they support their local economies, including music venues, organizations, bands, and numerous other small businesses.

Public Media Fact Sheet

  • The federal investment in public media is roughly one-hundredth of one percent (0.01%) of the federal budget.
  • The cost of public media per American each year is $1.35.
  • Public broadcasting stations leverage every $1.00 of federal funding invested to raise an additional $6.00 on their own.
  • An annual national survey conducted over the last 10 years has consistently confirmed that PBS and its member stations are ranked first in trust among nationally known institutions and are considered an “excellent” use of tax dollars by the American public, second only to military defense.
  • According to the 2011 national survey by the bipartisan polling firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint, more than two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting.

Rural + Minority Stations

  • There are 62 public television stations and 170 rural public radio stations who serve rural communities.
  • Rural and minority public radio stations receive higher funding from CPB – in some cases as much as two-thirds of their budgets – because their communities simply don’t have the financial resources to provide support.

Closed Captioning

  • Since its inception, the public television system has been instrumental in working closely with the disability community to ensure full and fair access to educational programming and resources. Public television has been at the forefront in the development of captioning and technology through the WGBH Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) in Boston. The Caption Center at WGBH was established in 1971 as the world’s first captioning center. Additionally, PBS was instrumental in establishing the National Captioning Institute in Virginia. Until 1980, only public broadcasting stations carried closed captioning, and presently, nearly 100 percent of the national programming, and the vast majority of the local programming, carried on public television stations is closed captioned.

Public Media (TV + Radio)

  • Public broadcasting (radio and TV combined) reaches more than 98% of the U.S. population and over 170 million Americans tune in every month to the free, over-the-air programming.
  • Public broadcasting stations are locally licensed and operated with programming schedules and choices determined locally.

Public TV

  • Roughly 120 million people watch their local public television station each month.
  • Americans watch more than 230 million videos across all of PBS’ web and mobile platforms every month; two-thirds (66%) of these streams were delivered on a mobile platform. (Google Analytics, 5/2013)PBS has a larger primetime audience than many commercial channels, including HBO, A&E, HGTV, Discovery, TLC and Bravo.
  • PBS’ primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 91% higher than CNN.
  • Public television educational programming and resources have been proven to help children from low-income families close the achievement gap with their middle income peers. (Linebarger, D.L. (2010) Between the Lions Mississippi literacy initiative: 2008–2009 review. A report prepared for Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Philadelphia, PA: Annenberg School for Communication,University of Pennsylvania.
  • PBS is the No. 1 source of media content for preschool teachers. (Grunwald Study, 2009 Media and Technology Use and Trends Among K-12 & Pre-K Teachers)

Public Radio

  • Roughly 38 million people listen to public radio stations each week.
  • The audience for public radio programming and newscasts is greater than the combined circulation of the top 64 national newspapers.
  • Public radio is a communications lifeline during times of emergencies, especially when the power grid is down.
  • The Public Radio Satellite System, which links together a network of 450 public radio stations and an additional 400 repeater stations nationwide, supplies public safety and emergency alerts, AMBER alerts, and messages from Homeland Security to over 260 million Americans (over 90% of the population) during times of crisis.
  • Every week, 26.4 million people tune in to NPR programs.