Today, the President submitted his Fiscal Year 2010 budget to Congress, recommending a total of $502 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) including: a $440 million two-year advance appropriation for FY 2012 (an increase of $10 million over FY 2011); $36 million for public television and radio digital conversion, content and services; $27 million for the last installment of funding to replace the Public Radio Satellite System and $25 million for Ready To Learn.
We are grateful to the Administration for acknowledging the vital service public broadcasting provides to the American people. On behalf of the millions of Americans who utilize public service media, we would like to thank the President for the funding he proposes in his budget, as well as for his support of the two-year advance, which affords public broadcasters a measure of certainty in their business planning and serves as an important firewall ensuring editorial independence in programming decisions.
We realize the President had to make many difficult decisions in allocating resources, given the economic situation facing our country. We are, however, deeply concerned that the President’s budget request for FY 2012 falls well short of public broadcasting’s need. Most notably, the President’s budget provided no emergency funding to stations that are struggling with severe revenue shortfalls as a result of the economic downturn. Moreover, the Administration did not recommend funding for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, a critical infrastructure program within the Department of Commerce targeted to meet the unique needs of local public television and radio stations, Ready To Teach or USDA’s Rural Digital program.
Fortunately, the window of opportunity has not closed, and Congress and the Administration can still make a critical new investment in public broadcasting as the Appropriations Committees begin consideration of their bills in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work closely with Congress and the Administration to make our case for fully funding public broadcasting so that we can continue, and enhance, the valuable programming and services we provide to communities across our country.