Congress Passes Relief for Public Media Stations

By Cait Beroza |

Across the country, public media stations are the heart of their communities, acting as classrooms and forums for civil dialogue and local connection connection – and essential sources of local news, information, and education. Now, thanks to our grassroots network’s outreach, they have a lifeline to make it through the pandemic.

Congress has passed the American Rescue Plan of 2021, coronavirus relief legislation containing $175 million in COVID-related assistance for the nation’s 1,400 public radio and television stations. President Biden signed the legislation into law on March 11, 2021.

The funds, to be distributed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will help maintain local stations’ enhanced programming and services, and protect the most financially vulnerable stations serving rural and remote communities.

It was a long path to victory. Grassroots advocates spoke up for nine months, calling and emailing legislators more than 154,000 times to secure support for public media stations in the COVID-19 relief package. When last-minute Senate amendments sought to eliminate assistance for stations, our network immediately and overwhelmingly united in opposition.

Thanks to the congressional outreach of viewers and listeners, public media stations will have the resources to continue to serve American communities with the highest quality remote learning services, local reporting, public health and safety information, and emergency communications.

Our focus now turns to advocating for essential annual federal funding for public media stations. The annual funding process usually begins when the President submits his budget to Congress. You can help shape the President’s budget proposal for public media funding. Please take a moment to urge President Biden to protect and expand America’s investments in public media.

The difficulties of the past year did not stop our Action Network from showing up and vocalizing their support for their public media stations.

We have never been prouder of our grassroots advocates’ vigorous commitment to protect America’s public radio and television stations and are encouraged about what we can accomplish together to strengthen stations this year.