Today, the House of Representatives approved the third phase of the coronavirus response relief package. The bill provided $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities,” and “to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-Federal revenues.”
The President has indicated he will sign the legislation into law soon.
How CPB Funding Will Help Stations Serve Communities
CPB funding will be distributed to local public radio and televisions to support their enhanced public services in local news, education and public safety.
In response to the coronavirus, public media stations have already stepped in to fill community needs by:
- Providing local news and information to nearly 99% of American communities
- Partnering with local and state educational authorities to provide remote learning services for millions of pre-K to 12th grade students
- Distributing emergency alerts related to the pandemic
- Offering critical resources to teachers and families.
Stations have offered these new, unbudgeted services despite dramatic decreases in non-federal sources of revenue and unexpected costs related to the reorganization of station operations and newsrooms to accommodate remote working arrangements.
Our Network’s Role in Securing Funding
Our Action Network played an important role in helping secure vital CPB funding.
In just one day, grassroots advocates from across the country sent 25,000 communications to Congress, endorsing emergency funding for their local stations.
Thank you to the viewers and listeners who responded to our calls to action. Your advocacy allowed lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to understand that local public media stations are providing services that aren’t available anywhere else and that emergency federal funding was needed to continue this essential work.
Upcoming Public Media Funding Debates
We expect Congress will create, debate and pass additional legislation to respond to the COVID-19 crisis but the timing and contents of those bills is currently unknown. It’s also unclear how the normal appropriations process, including the consideration of the Fiscal Year 2021 legislation that provides annual funding for public media, will continue.
As these debates unfold, we will be carefully watching to ensure public broadcasters receive the resources they need to serve your community. If issues arise, we may ask you to register your support once more.