GratiTuesday: Public Broadcasting and Its Supporters

I first wrote about my love for my local public broadcasting stations last year. At the time, I had no idea that, just a few months later, their federal funding could be in jeopardy. Some of this post is a repeat, but I’ve updated it and added information about important ways you can lend your support (including a link to a petition you can sign).

My husband and I usually begin our day listening to our local National Public Radio (NPR) station and, in the evening, we often watch the Public Broadcasting Station’s (PBS) NewsHour to catch up on the day’s news. When I’m driving around in my car, my radio might as well be permanently fixed on NPR because I rarely listen to anything else. In addition, we watch many of the quality shows our local PBS station broadcasts in the evening such as Downton Abbey (sadly over now), Sherlock, Masterpiece Theater, and anything Ken Burns produces.

When I listen to NPR or watch PBS, I am always entertained and I usually learn something new; sometimes the topics are already of great interest to me and sometimes the subjects weren’t even on my radar. Either way, I always get something out of the time I spend watching or listening to this most valuable public resource.

I am so grateful for public television and radio and the diverse programs and services that are available to inform, educate, enlighten, and enrich us all. They are a bright light shining above the fray of polarized and often questionable news sources. Public broadcasting stations are operated as private not-for-profit corporations and partially rely on contributions by their listeners.

I am also grateful for those who support public broadcasting.

  • If you haven’t given your local public broadcasting station a try, tune in sometime and see if what they offer is of value to you.
  • If you do watch or listen – or both – but are not yet a member, consider joining. Your support will help ensure the continued success of smart, thoughtful programming.
  • If you are already a member: fabulous! If you can, think about upping your level of support. Also, please consider including your local station in your estate planning so that future generations can enjoy this valuable resource too.
  • And finally, please lend your voice to the public outcry about the president’s budget that proposes to eliminate public media funding. The federal investment in public media is relatively small – roughly $1.35 per American taxpayer annually – less than 1/100th of one percent of the federal budget, yet PBS is watched by 82 percent of U.S. households.

If you feel that public media is an essential part of the fabric of our culture, please make your voice heard. Visit www.ProtectMyPublicMedia.org to sign this petition urging Congress to continue the essential funding for public media and your local stations. Call your representatives to let them know how important it is to you.

Thank you!

39 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Public Broadcasting and Its Supporters”

  1. They have better programming than cable or regular TV. I like NPR and the PB channel. Sadly I think they are getting caught unfairly in the dragnet to remove some so called “Arts” organizations that have vulgar sculptures and pictures funded by tax payers money. I just watched a really nice fund-raising drive here that had a replay of Roy Orbison performing with many others, now THAT is TV worth watching.

    1. There is so much on the public broadcasting channels that is worthwhile. Without it, we’d be stuck with the mostly drivel that is on regular TV. I don’t know what the reasoning is for cutting funding, but I have a feeling that it’s pure politics.

  2. Great post, Janis. It’s painful to think that the relatively small amount of federal funding for this is now in jeopardy. Thank you for sharing this information and deepening awareness of this issue.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I have long been a contributor and watch a lot of PBS programs. There are two stations in the state I can access and they have different programming which I enjoy. I rarely listen to the news on radio or TV, but when I do, I opt for PBS Newshour. That entire budget that ws presented is a disgrace IMO.

  4. This is a good reminder for me to not take our local NPR and PBS stations for granted. We live between two large cities so I get 3 NPR radio stations and umpteen PBS TV stations that I tune into randomly. Am not surprised that Trump et al are after these forms of media, considering his aversion to quality and information!

    1. That’s nice that you have so much variety available to you! I hope that, with enough push back, we can turn this around. I think, just like with healthcare, they may have woken people up to what they could lose if this budget goes through.

  5. I love NPR probably the most. The other day I had a three hour drive by myself, and was incredibly grateful for having “All Things Considered” to make the time pass in an interesting way.

    Part of me diabolically thinks that it’d be so much better to for public broadcasting to simply receive NO government funding. That way we could simply end this insane charade every year for how important it. We really shouldn’t have to be defend it so often, but yet we continually have to do so. It’s mind-numbing – Marty

    1. I wish that we didn’t have to go through this every time too, but I’m concerned that – this time – it may not be such a charade. In some locations, they could probably exist without government funding. But others, in less affluent areas, would probably not be able to. I hope people are starting to wake up to what could be lost.

    1. I wish everyone who enjoys public broadcasting supported it with their donations (assuming they have the money to do so). $1.35 per taxpayer seems quite reasonable and a better investment than many other things our tax dollars pay for.

  6. Fully agree … I am appalled at the thought that the arts and cultural pursuits are being threatened in order to spend more money on military equipment. Thank you for this post!

  7. Janis, I have similar concerns. These news sources and supporting documentaries are beacons in a world of more conflicted and shallow news reporting. My sister who watches Fox News at home has been staying with us. She told my wife that while watching PBS Newshour and the BBC World News America on PBS, she had seen more news than ever before. Keith

    1. It is one of their favorite punching bags. Unfortunately, I worry that this time they could really make a change. Hopefully, they are learning that not everyone – in fact only a small minority – want to see them slash and burn many of the institutions we value.

  8. I absolutely agree with you on the error in defunding public broadcasting. It would be a horrible decision, and I hope that like so many other recent plans/intentions, it will not come to fruition (at least not without a protracted debate).

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