I Love Public Media.
Why I think Public Media is Important.
Its an ongoing battle. One that Mr. Trump has fueled fire to the flame. And no, its not on healthcare or immigration or crime or the economy. Its basically The White House vs. Congress… on Public Media. Yes, Public Media. While it has always been a battle, Trump ignited it when he has repeatedly said this year that he wants to defund and eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which helps fund money to local PBS, NPR and Independent public TV and radio stations. The good news, he lost this battle. The bad news, its only for five months.
Trumo lost because Congress has recently passed a $1.1 trillion spending package to fund the government until September and in it, funds $445 million for CPB. But he also won because its only for five months and then funding could go away entirely for after September. That could put many communities at risk to lose public media, which is sometimes their ONLY outlet for local news and information. One good example of that is WCTE Channel 22, a PBS affiliate serving Cookeville and Cumberland, Tenn., which is in the Nashville television market. It’s the ONLY source for local news and emergency information for that area, called “Upper Cumberland.” Without funding from CPB, which by the way is 40% of WCTE’s budget, the station could make big and drastic cuts to local programming and could even be forced to go off-air FOR GOOD. The battle will continue in five months time when lawmakers in Congress will, once again, battle on funding for public broadcasting.
Monday was the 48th anniversary (May 1st, 1969) when Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame, spoke and testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in Congress about the importance of public broadcasting in the United States and to restore proposed funding cuts. Thanks to his testimony that he have to Subcommittee Chairman and former Governor and Senator of Rhode Island, John O. Pastore (D-RI), federal funding for public broadcasting was not only saved but also increased. President Richard M. Nixon wanted to cut it to $10 million but Rogers argued and got the full $20 million for PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, which would be formed on June 23rd, 1970. exhibit.fredrogerscenter.org/advocacy-for-children/videos/view/969/ The inagural year of funding for PBS was supposed to be $9 million, but instead received $22 million, thanks to Rogers’ testimony.
Today, almost 47 years later, PBS has become an institution to public television across the country. With programs like NOVA, Nature and Masterpiece as well as Frontline, the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week and even children’s programming from PBS Kids, PBS has been a recognized treasure all across the United States for those who love and support public television.
But its not the only institution that needs support within the public media spectrum.
NPR, otherwise known as National Public Radio, has been a beloved product of public radio for 46 years. It too has been in a battle with PBS to secure funding for public broadcasting and it hasn’t been much easier as it has been accused of many things and NPR has been the subject of many talks to defund the organization because of its political views. However, many see NPR as a viable resource and it too, without CPB funding, could see several local communities lose access to its ONLY source for local news and emergency information. NPR was first started on February 26th, 1970 and first went on the air a year later on April 20th, 1971 to cover the United States Senate hearings on the Vietnam War. Two weeks later on May 3rd, 1971, All Things Considered (ATC) debuted. That program has since gone on to become the most-listened-to afternoon drive-time news program in the country, with the morning counterpart distinction going to Morning Edition, also from NPR, which started on November 5th, 1979.
Today, NPR is enjoying more success than it ever has been. Ratings are not only up but through the roof and have never been higher in NPR’s history. Plus, it has been recognized, just like PBS, as the most unbiased and truthful news sources in the country, joining the Associated Press (AP) and C-SPAN to that list. Other than NPR’s signature programs, it also offers programs like Fresh Air, Here and Now, 1A (which replaced Diane Rehm earlier this year), On Point and much more.
And its not just NPR. There are other organizations that support public radio like Public Radio International (PRI), which is host to The Takeaway and PRI’s The World, American Public Media (APM), host to Marketplace and A Prairie Home Companion and the distributor to the BBC World Service here in the states and Public Radio Exchange (PRX), which is host to Reveal and This American Life. And all four deliver a long excellent list of podcasts for consumers to download and enjoy for their listening buds. In fact, public radio is considered the “crown jewel” of podcasting since many of the poodcasts available today mostly comes from public radio and from one of the public radio organizations.
I can continue to list the many wonderful things that public media has provided to this country but at the end of the day, this is the simple message: Fund and Save Public Media. Its constantly under threat year-round and it needs to be protected. Yours truly is a fan of public media and no matter what resource we like to use or which we prefer more (PBS or NPR), public media is important. It provides alternative views. It provides stories that you won’t hear on private media (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.). It provides platforms that sometimes other organizations can’t provide and it provides truthful, unbiased, accurate journalism that more and more Americans are starting to realize in the so-called era of “fake news.” There are always ways to contribute to public media, whether by watching pledges on television or listening to them on the radio or by even donating online. The point of the matter is public media is pretty much like the slogan from PBS: Trusted. Valued. Essential.
Take the time to support and love public media today. Its healthy and safe for all Americans and brings us television and radio content that you won’t here ANYWHERE ELSE. Yours truly guarantees it.
P.S., yours truly has started a Twitter account to promote news and positivity on the effect of public media from PBS, NPR and independent stations everywhere. To start following and receive updates, just follow the account @PubMediaFans. It’s worth a follow for Public Media fans and junkies everywhere. Thank you.