House Approves Bill to Defund NPR

| March 17, 2011 | 2 Comments

The House passed the bill today to defund NPR by disallowing any direct federal funding to NPR and any funds from local stations going to either NPR or any other national distributor of programming (PRI, Am. Public Media, BBC, etc.). The vote was 228 to 192.

It was not exactly down party lines as 7 Republican Congressmen voted against the bill. Columbus Rep. Pat Tiberi was one of those seven and we’re very pleased the Congressman understood the impact such a law would have on local stations attempting to provide the programming required to grow listenership and membership. The restrictive nature of the bill would’ve especially been damaging to small public stations across America.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. More chapters to this saga ahead.

FYI – The seven Republicans who voted against the bill included Congressmen Duffy (WI), Gibson (NY), LaTourette(OH), Reichert (WA), Woodall (GA), Hanna (NY), and Tiberi (OH).

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Category: WOSU General

  • Karen Eliot


    I have been following this problem with a lot of concern. So far I’ve signed email petitions, made phone calls, and written letters to Congressman Steve Stivers and Senator Rob Portman telling them that I hope they will not (would not) support efforts to defund NPR. This is of course, in my own self-interest, as I am an avid listener and member of WOSU; it is also in the greater interest of the country as I know the value of the work done by NPR reporters and staffers. In this political climate and at this time of enormous geopolitical unrest, we cannot afford to lose the excellent, painstaking work of these journalists, analysts, and commentators. But, as was pointed out in the March 28 article in Newsweek, “What’s Killing NPR,” NPR’s upper management is often its own worst enemy. Do you regional stations have any way to affect change at the organizational level? I truly think that NPR has to find new ways to operate in a changed (and charged) political climate and in a new media environment. In spite of the excellence of the work done by the reporters on the ground, and in spite of the vast numbers of listeners NPR has secured, the upper management executives haven’t grown up to their own level of sophistication. Since we at the local levels are the ones most likely to be hurt by cuts in government funding, can’t we do something to help restructure the top levels of the organization? If we squeak through this immediate threat, are we going to be subjected to the whims of every political upheaval? Sorry that I am not an organizational wonk myself, but I have to say, there are an awful lot of smart people working at NPR who could be restructuring and rethinking the way the organization is run. Can this change be affected at the local level?

  • tomrieland


    Thanks for the email. The NPR Board of Directors includes a number of public radio station managers from across the country. It was the station dominated board, along with some professsional representatives that chose to ask the previous NPR President to leave after the video sting incident and is currently leading a search for a new NPR President. It’s my belief that until we can find an alternative model for funding public broadcasting in America, (for instance, the Brits have a tax on radio and TV receivers that benefits the BBC), there will always be politics involved. Having said that, I’ve never seen the funding debate so politicized and one that has put NPR and PBS so at risk.

    We appreciate your outreach to Congressman Stivers and Sen. Portman. We can only hope that our Congress takes a moderate stand and retains this service for listeners like you. My thanks.