Public Media’s Federally Funded Programs

By Cait Beroza |

What does it mean when we you ask Congress to fully fund public media? Here’s a breakdown of the specific programs that enable your local public radio and television stations to deliver high-quality noncommercial programs and services that you can’t find anywhere else.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

If you’ve ever watched public television or listened to public radio, you’ve probably heard of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 created CPB with the goal of helping develop local public radio and television stations and ensuring every American access to public media.

CPB’s primary role is to receive and distribute federal funding to local public radio and television stations.

The federal seed funding that local stations receive from CPB is essential to local station operations and helps stations secure private financial support. On average, stations raise $6 for every federal dollar, resulting in a highly effective public-private partnership.

Every year, we ask Congress to fund CPB because studies show that there is no replacement for this funding. If CPB is defunded, stations would be forced to cut programs and services. And some stations, particularly smaller stations in rural areas, could be forced to go off the air. Without federal funding, you would not have access to the same public media you enjoy today.

Take a deeper dive into why federal funding for CPB is essential.


Interconnection Funding

Public media’s interconnection system is a distribution network that enables your stations to receive and deliver your favorite programs, news, music and emergency communications to you every day for free.
For more than 20 years, Congress has provided federal funding, separate from CPB funding, for public media’s interconnection system, which requires periodic updates to meet advancements in broadcast technology.

Interconnection uses cost-effective, high quality and reliable satellite and digital technologies to provide the infrastructure that allows stations to:

  • Send and receive programming
  • Receive and distribute Presidential messages from FEMA’s national Emergency Alert System

Interconnection is the only system that reaches 98 percent of our nation – virtually every American household.

If federal funding for Interconnection is cut, it becomes nearly impossible for local stations to broadcast your favorite programs and deliver important public safety communications. Some rural, remote and island communities might also lose their only source of local media.

Discover why Interconnection is vital to local communities nationwide.

Ready To Learn

KBTC Ready To Learn Camp

Generations of Americans have grown up with public television’s hallmark children’s educational programming.

Beginning in 1992, Congress recognized the important role public television plays in helping children get ready for classroom room success by authorizing the Ready To Learn grant program.

Managed by the Department of Education, Ready To Learn is a competitive grant program that helps support the creation of highly researched educational programs for kids, interactive online and mobile tools and local resources.

Ready To Learn has helped create programs like Peg+Cat, Odd Squad, SuperWHY!, Martha Speaks and more.

The grant program also supports on-the-ground activities. Local stations train teachers and caregivers to use these educational resources in schools, homeschools, Head Start day care centers, libraries, hospitals and more.

Lastly, stations host educational summer camps, mobile learning labs and other opportunities to engage local children. The grant has a special emphasis on helping children from low-income families.

Ready To Learn’s content is rigorously tested and evaluated. Over 100 studies prove that the program helps children make academic gains and close the achievement gap.

Explore the gains children have made in math and literacy when engaging with Ready To Learn content.

Importance of Federal Funding

Federal funding for CPB, Interconnection and Ready To Learn amounts to about $1.40 per American. It’s a relatively small investment that pays dividends by ensuring:

  • Every community can experience public media’s award winning educational, news, public safety, music and local programs and services
  • Rural, remote and island communities have access to local media
  • Every community receives local and national emergency communications
  • Local children, regardless of income level, have access to proven effective tools that will prepare them for classroom success

To make certain that public media continues to be strong, please sign up for funding updates below. Advocates who sign up for updates will be the first to know how to make their voice heard when public media funding is threatened.

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Ways To Take Action

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