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 1,400 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 engages more than half of all Americans every month. 170 million Americans connect through over 360 public television stations, 1,100 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.

Public Media Fact Sheet

  • The federal investment in public media is roughly one one-hundredth of a 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 13 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 60 public television stations and 159 public radio stations that 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 people with disabilities 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 radio and TV programming is the most trusted news source in the United States. (Public Relations Society of America, 2005 study)
  • Public broadcasting (TV and radio 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 locally determined programming selections and schedules.

Public TV

  • In a typical month, nearly 100 million people watch local PBS stations. (Nielsen NPower, October 2014)
  • Annually, 82% of all U.S. television households — and 182 million people — watch public television. Americans stream over 425 million videos on PBS web, mobile, and connected device platforms each month. (Nielsen NPower, September 2013-14)
  • PBS averaged a 1.46 primetime household rating during the 2014-15 season, making it the #5 broadcast and cable network. (Nielsen NPower, September 2014-15)
  • 71% of children ages 2-8 watch PBS Kids. PBS reaches more kids 2-5 years old, more moms with kids under 6, and more children from low income families than any other kids TV network.
  • 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 #1 source of media content for preschool teachers and K-12 classrooms. (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 power grids are down.
  • The Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS), which links together approximately 1,600 independently owned stations nationwide, reaches more than 300 million Americans (over 95% of the U.S. population) including those in the most remote and underserved locations. The PRSS provides the country with public safety information such as emergency alerts, AMBER alerts, and official messages from Homeland Security.
  • Every week, over 26 million people tune in to NPR programs alone.
  • Public radio stations host and broadcast approximately 10,000 in-studio and community-based music performances each year.
  • Nearly 90% of all classical radio stations in the U.S. are public radio stations.