Trump administration might move to privatize Corporation for Public Broadcasting

cpb 02 canvasOne of Donald Trump’s first actions in the White House might result in drastic, devastating changes to public media. Prior to the inauguration, his transition team has included plans to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB is a nonprofit corporation that receives about $445 million a year in federal funding. It is also the primary source of funds for public television and radio programming.

CPB funds are distributed mainly to local stations, helping to maintain the U.S. public media’s structure as an affiliated network of autonomous stations. In the case of radio, NPR network stations pay NPR for syndication rights of centralized programming (e.g. All Things Considered, the widely distributed daily news show), and might also allocate CPB funds to original local programming.

“The federal investment in public media is vital seed money — especially for stations located in rural America, and those serving underserved populations where the appropriation counts for 40-50% of their budget,” the CPB said in a statement responding to the possible cuts. “The loss of this seed money would have a devastating effect.”

A report by Booz & Company commissioned by the CPB in 2012 found that the loss of federal funding “would mean the end of public broadcasting.” In 2007, the Government Accountability Office issued a study that determined there would not be a viable private substitute for the CPB’s federal funding.

RAIN News Staff


  1. The word “might” is big in that first sentence. I haven’t seen anyone other than Media Matters suggest that CPB is either a first, second, or even third priority at the White House. It would take a major change in legislation to get it done. The fact is that CPB is already funded for the next two years, and that money was appropriated by the Republican Congress, who strongly believes in returning money and power to the states, which is exactly what CPB does. Sure the small group of tea party reps would love to shut the whole thing down. But even they have been quiet these past few years. I can understand Media Matters wanting to stir up their base, but until someone else brings it up, this sounds like chicken little.

  2. It’s disappointing that they choose to take that stance against PBS yet again. PBS is one of the few stations left that has quality programming.

    • I second that. PBS affiliates broadcast a lot of BBC shows. As a child, I got exposure to a lot of Brit-coms, ‘Mystery’ with Diana Rigg, and lots of dramas through PBS.

      When I was tiny (and still now), PBS was the kind of TV a parent could feel good letting their children watch; ‘Zoobilee Zoo’, ‘The Electric Company’, ‘Sesame Street’, and ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood’ were things I looked forward to every day and they were programs that helped mold smart, creative, inquisitive minds.

  3. Call your Senators and Representatives. Put pressure on them not to cut arts and education.

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