Take Action: House Bill Zeroes out Public Broadcast Funding

| February 11, 2011 | 9 Comments

This coming week, the House of Representatives is expected to debate and vote on a Continuing Resolution that lays the foundation for the complete cessation of federal support for public broadcasting. The current Resolution zeroes out federal funding for public TV and Radio and eliminates such successful early childhood programs as Ready to Learn. The House Majority Leader has indicated debate on the bill will begin this Tuesday.

Federal support provides a critical share of WOSU Public Media funding ($1.4 million) and total elimination of funding will spark the demise of many public stations across the country.

These funds help WOSU deliver educational, commercial-free programming that expands children’s minds, create local and national documentaries that open up new worlds to our audience, and bring trusted news on WOSU TV and 89-7 NPR News that keeps you informed. It also helps us support the local arts through our all-day classical radio station, Classical 101.

Some say that there is no longer a need for federal support for public broadcasting. Others believe it’s one of the worthiest places to invest minimal federal dollars. Most important is what you think.

We ask that you will call your Members of Congress and tell them what you think of public media and the proposed elimination of all funding. Call the general switchboard at the Capitol at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 and request to speak to your congressman’s office.

The WOSU coverage area is primarily represented by Rep. Pat Tiberi, Rep. Steve Stivers and Rep. Bob Gibbs. Please call YOUR congressman today to express your opinion about the complete loss of federal funding to public media. We need your help NOW!

You can also keep informed by visiting 170millionamericans.org and sign up to receive updates. Every month, public media reaches over 170 million Americans through its locally based public broadcast stations. A complete loss of federal funding could mean the end of public broadcasting in many communities, and to much of what WOSU provides in programming and services to serve central and southern Ohio.

The future of public media is at stake, it’s important that your elected representatives hear directly from you about whether or not funding for should be continued. Go to 170millionamericans.org for more information.

Thank you for taking action now.

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Category: WOSU General

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  • John Damschroder

    I wrote a column supporting Ohio’s libraries when they were targeted for spending cuts. But they are inclusive. PBS is by, for and of liberals. Inviting a conservative on to your shows as a guest is not enough. Your organization is overwhelmingly liberal and a closed shop. If you can look in the mirror and dispute that then you might be able to argue that a Republican Congressman would be damaged politically by voting NOT to fund PBS.

    I posit that the conservative base vote that elected the representatives you reference is not supportive of continued federal funding for PBS. If you have 170 million devoted followers they’ll put up a dollar each to make up the loss and you’ll come out with $70 million extra.

  • http://www.wosu.org Tom Rieland

    The last I watched, Big Bird, Clifford and Arthur were educating our youngest children (no Right or Left discussion, unless they were learning directions); the last I watched, American Experience and landmark documentaries such as National Parks from Ken Burns were educating the rest of us about our culture and history and NOVA was the only quality place on TV to discover the exciting world of science exploration.

    Over the past two years, WOSU was beneficiary of three competitive Corporation for Public Broadcast federal grants: 1) a grant to create digital media tools focused on the research of the Byrd Polar Center at OSU for teachers across America 2) a joint grant with two other University stations to develop University Place, an online and broadcast space for the best lectures, forums, panel sessions, debates, and discussion to be shared nationally 3) a grant for Facing the Mortgage Crisis in which WOSU partnered with 21 community organizations to counsel and assist Ohioans in peril of losing their homes. These efforts, often under the radar, reflect our public media mission…a mission that doesn’t include “profit,” but public service.

    I believe PBS remains what many of our members (of all political persuasions) call a “safe haven” from the rampent commercialism and politicizing of our media world.

    In fact, the American people have named PBS the most trusted and unbiased institution among nationally known organizations, the most trusted source of news and public affairs among broadcast and cable sources and the most educational media brand for children according to new national polls, including the non-partisan, international research company GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

    Consider a Yellowstone National Park full of Ferris Wheels; consider a public library system with only the most popular books. Without public funding, the almighty buck comes into play at all our great American institutions. We know many rural public stations across the country will simply collapse without governmental support and others will inch quickly toward being more commercial, more saleable, more like every other station on TV.

    Tom Rieland, WOSU

  • Roger L. Brown

    PBS has very good educational shows as well as some questionable shows..but what broadcasting organization doesn’t. However, I do agree with what John Damshroder says. Too often liberal views are overwhelming presented and sometimes a token conservative is on but I still believe PBS & NPR need to be supported for the reasons I have already stated.

  • Kelly

    I wish John Damschroder would give some examples. I am a avid viewer of PBS and listener of NPR. And I just don’t get the charge of “liberal bias.” Is it a liberal bias to air quality programming like Masterpiece or American Experience? Is the good science information found on NOVA “liberal?” I have a six year old who watches Word Girl and loves the new Wild Kratts. Is he being indoctrinated into a vast leftwing conspiracy with these shows? Hardly. My toddler watches Sesame Street. If there is liberal bias there, we have not found it. Though we are disappointed at the dwindling minutes given to Cookie Monster and suspect that Abby Cadabby is behind that curious plot.

    I don’t watch Fox or MSNBC. I do on occasion tune into the Newshour and I suppose if one equates in-depth coverage of a broad range of news topics to be “liberal”, PBS is guilty on that charge. But I do not make the false assumption that quality equals liberal. And I am curious as to why so many conservatives make this argument.

  • David Sandritter

    It is a fascinating discussion, i.e., is public broadcasting liberal or moderate. However, it misses the point. There are not many public goods that we can all agree are in the best interest of the entire public. That is the nature of the left vs. right political discourse. One side thinks there its in the best interest of society for all to pay for a Masterpiece Theatre program that only 1 million people might watch. It is a trickle down theory not unlike the trickle down economic theory put forth by the Reagan Presidency. The other side, thinks that only those who use a good should pay for it. That’s the way the rest of big boy and girl television works.

    I think both are valid arguments and I don’t think one side can persuade the other. But, we all should be able to agree that we are in a deficit crisis. If you do not understand the significance of this fact then might I suggest that you listen to NPR more often. If you are among the vast majority, left or right, that can agree that we have financial problems in this country, then might we at least agree that this public good, while perhaps more important to some than others, is a rather low priority on the public good continuum given the circumstances?

    And please do not use the “pbs-funding-is-an-infinitesimal-percentage-of-the-entire-budget” argument to save your financing and precious programming. That argument is a non-starter. If we cannot practice discipline in the small things, how will we ever be able to trust ourselves with the big things? Well, may I suggest that we have not practiced sound discipline in either, thereby creating a financial condition in this country that could potentially threaten more than just Masterpiece Theatre.

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  • John Damschroder

    PBS accepted a grant from George Soros to hire local reporters at stations across the nation. Simply turn this inside out and imagine the Koch brothers offering to fund a dedicated reporting corps at stations like WOSU. If you can imagine that happening then it should be bad politics for Republicans to oppose continued funding for PBS.

    For some reason the Republicans think it is good politics for them to defund public broadcasting. I would say the Soros connection is a provocation. Moreover, if the American public is so enthused by the offerings of public broadcasting it is a more sustainable business model to raise the money from them directly. Very small donations more than offset the tax money.

    I follow broadcasting closely as I have worked in the industry for over 20 years in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Lima and Orlando. Moreover, I enjoy much PBS and NPR programming. But it’s a liberal hot tub, where topics, hosts, guests and callers are to the left of the general public.

  • http://wosu.org tomrieland

    It was not PBS, but NPR that announced the grant alluded to related to Soros. See http://www.npr.org/about/press/2010/101810.ImpactOfGovernment.html

    Let’s be clear about the facts. Of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funding received by local stations, 75 percent is designated for public television work and 25 percent is designated for public radio work. Only a portion of these funds go to support national programming from PBS, NPR, Public Radio International and a series of other distributors. The majority of those funds go to keeping the stations on the air, paying for maintenance, equipment repair, and exciting things like electricity and fuel oil for our backup generators. Funds also assist us in all our local programming efforts.