published on March 20, 2017 - 3:21 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which supports stations like PBS and NPR, could be eliminated should Congress choose to adopt proposed cuts under President Trump’s discretionary budget plan.

If enacted, the cuts would be detrimental to Central Valley stations like ValleyPBS, which currently receives 20 percent of its funding through a grant from CPB according to the station’s President and CEO Phil Meyer. The remaining 80 percent of funds are generously provided by local contributions.

Meyer released a statement Friday with his thoughts on Trump’s budget proposal.

“For 50 years, Congress has determined that public media is a worthwhile investment, and ValleyPBS has been serving everyone in the San Joaquin Valley on the air, online, and in the community for the last 40 years,” Meyer said in his statement. “The President’s budget is just one step in the process of determining final federal funding levels for FY 2018. Ultimately, it is the decision of Congress to determine which programs they find worthy of federal investment and annual appropriations.”

Meyer cited recent studies that show the overwhelming support voters on both sides of the political spectrum have for maintaining the funding source for public broadcasting.

A survey by Rasmussen Reports shows that just 21 percent of Americans—and only 32 percent of Republicans—favor ending public broadcasting support. A poll conducted by PBS Hart Research-American Viewpoint shows 83 percent of voters—including 70 percent of those who voted for Trump—say they want Congress to find savings elsewhere.

Another recent nationwide study confirmed that PBS and its member stations are rated No. 1 in public trust among nationally known institutions for the 14th year in a row. The same study found that parents rank PBS KIDS the No. 1 educational media brand for children. In January, ValleyPBS launched its 24/7 children’s channel on 18.2.

“ValleyPBS, along with our viewers, continue to remind Congress of our strong support among Republican and Democratic voters, in rural and urban areas from Merced to Bakersfield,” Meyer said. “We have always had support from both parties in Congress, and will continue to make clear what the public receives in return for federal funding for public broadcasting.

“The cost of public broadcasting is small, only $1.35 per citizen per year, and the benefits are tangible and with resounding impact: increasing school readiness for children ages 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse. In the communities we serve, ValleyPBS supports thousands of families and teachers with free children’s books, parenting workshops, pre-school readiness, lesson plans and classroom materials.”

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