Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: October 25, 2012

With Big Bird taking some headlines during the presidential debates, I thought it might be good to skim the fact from the fiction as the debate turns to numbers.  Perhaps, as they might say on Sesame Street, this could be “sponsored by the fraction 1/100th!”

Here we go —

  • Federal support for public broadcasting in America amounts to 1/100th of 1 percent of the federal budget
  • That amounts to $1.35 per American per year
  • Public stations like WOSU are leveraging governmental support 6 times over through individual and corporate givers
  • WOSU TV broadcasts 12 hours of educational, noncommercial children’s programming daily
  • Research found PBS KIDS the #1 educational media brand in America (far ahead of Disney)
  • 88% of Americans feel PBS is the most trusted, most safe place for kids to watch TV
  • WOSU Radio 89.7 won its third consecutive honor as Best New Operation in Ohio in 2012
  • 959 stations carry NPR programming, heard by 26.4 million Americans every week
  • WOSU’s Classical 101 provides the sole classical music service in central Ohio
  • A non-partisan research poll found PBS #1 in Trust in America in 2012
  • The total public media audience is over 170 Million Americans

When someone says that public media would survive fine without the 15% average support local stations receive through the federal government, I answer that this question has been studied exhaustively. The June 2012 study by Booz & Company had this stark summary — “Ending federal funding for public broadcasting would severely diminish, if not destroy, public broadcasting service in the United States.  The loss of support…risks the collapse of the system itself.”

No matter the result of the upcoming election, please support the minimal federal appropriation to your local public broadcasting station – WOSU Public Media. We need your help to tell the story of what we mean to this community.


  • tigersgrowl

    I never knew about that. Had I known, I would have listened to local radio because my data is capped within the first week due to all the 3G radio I listen to. This will be a great help however, I use the Kyrocera Event (don’t laugh, it was only $20 and I got a mortgage) with the Virgin Mobile service using the Sprint network. I contacted Virgin just now, we’ll have to see if they give me the run around as expected with most phone companies or not. If they do, I won’t give up there, I will consult the blogs and forums. If there is a way, I will find it.

    • Jessie

      @tigersgrowl, I also have Virgin Mobile and they use the Sprint network. I will call them also, but I would really appreciate if you post your updates.

  • Yoga Bear

    “I want my FM Radio! Unlock the FM chip in all smartphones you sell so I can get important emergency information when data networks are unavailable and reduce the amount of data I use each month.

    Thank you. I have a HTC one m7 I have looked and the phone has a FM chip and I have Verizon I have called there tech support and they told me all I need to do is find a radio app, you can’t find one that will work without the net, theses company’s just lies to get you off the phone, so I called HTC by the way Verizon told me not to do that, so me being one not to do what I’m told lol I called any ways, HTC told me that they will be updating to lollipop in a few months and then they’re going to come out with the update that send you a FM radio to your phone that they have been working on it for several months without any support from Verizon Wireless so they’ve taken it on their self to go ahead and make a program to turn on the FM chip so that it will work so that we can have free FM radio on our smartphones, we will see. I’ll give them two months if they don’t do it I’m calling back.

    • Joseph Ogidan

      I had a Nokia phone back in 2008 that had a radio. All I needed to activate it was my head phone, and it worked perfectly well.

  • jeremiah stansbury

    please its our rite we paid for the phone why cant we have fm radio it wont cost you any thing to keep the public informed

  • callthemanufacture

    you’re provider has nothing to do with this they do not make the phones so be sure to call the manufacture the provider does not have a way to unlock this so don’t blame them and give more information on fm chips besides call your provider

    • Irwin Busk

      You are very incorrect. The provider orders the phone with their preferred software load, and with certain features and applications locked. The carrier can provide an “unlock” code, but is not required to by law. many will do so, if you are near the end of your contract.

  • sm spfld ma

    Radio is not a right. I’m all for the chip being activated but come on. npr is using you to push their agenda and getting this activated. It’s a scarf tactic. We all got text messages from the weather service when the tornado was on its way to western ma. Say you did have a radio on the phone then; how many people would put the radio on? I Google the tornado then and got the info I needed. Don’t be fools: you’re bejng used by public radio cronies to get more people to listen to PUBLIC RADIO. It’s a cheap marketing initiative.

    • Mrpockets

      If you are all about activating the chip then why are you urging people not to ask for it? Sure it’s an agenda. Everyone has an agenda. For all we know, you could hold a bunch of stock in Pandora and are pushing your own agenda by trying to make people feel stupid for wanting access to something that they’ve always had. That’s what you sound like to me.

  • Floyd Durham

    I just contacted Virgin and they claimed to have no knowledge of any of this. I was told that basically it probably not real and that just because it says so on the internet it doesn’t mean anything. They don’t want people using it then they loose money for data use….Like the owner of Virgin needs more money..lol