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.