Why Corporation for Public Broadcasting Funding is Critical to Stations

By Anne Standley |

If you’ve ever listened to public radio or watched public television, you’ve probably heard that programming or your station is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But what does that mean?

What is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

CPB does not produce programming and does not own, operate or manage any public broadcasting stations. Instead, it receives federal funding from Congress and distributes the majority of funding to nearly 1,500 locally managed public radio and television stations across the United States.

Distribution of funds

CPB receives federal funding from Congress two years in advance, per the Public Broadcasting Act. Once received, CPB distributes funding based on a formula that is set in law.
The majority of funding (71%) is sent directly to public radio and television stations. Public media stations use funds received from CPB to:

  • Produce local programming
  • Provide community services in news, education, public safety and more
  • Purchase broadcast equipment
  • Acquire programming

The remainder of federal funding is divided accordingly:

  • 18% is invested in the creation of the programming you enjoy and depend on.
  • 6% is spent on system wide support including research, copyright fees and national initiatives.
  • 5% or less covers CPB’s operations.
CPB Funding Helps Serve Rural America

CPB’s mission is to provide all Americans with free, over-the-air access to local public media, regardless of whether they live in an urban, suburban, rural, or remote area. Many rural communities rely on public media as one of their only sources of local media. In fact, 248 public radio and television stations serve communities that are often unserved by other local media services. Federal funding ensures that these communities have access to news, educational programming, public safety information, local culture and more.

Why CPB Funding is Important

On average, stations raise $6 for every federal dollar they receive from CPB, resulting in a highly effective public-private partnership.

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

Remind your lawmakers that public media funding like CPB is essential. Contact Congress using the tools below.

Ways To Take Action