FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NPR doesn’t need federal funding???
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
I know not what planet that fundraising guy from NPR found himself on when he said that NPR did not need federal support. He obviously hasn’t connected the dots to see how the whole of federal funding of public broadcasting works, and has wound up shooting us all in the foot.
The truth of the matter is that not many federal dollars actually go directly to NPR or PBS. Rather, the vast majority go to local stations like WTVP-TV, WCBU-FM, and WGLT-FM here in the Heart of Illinois. These dollars are then used for local operations and to produce and acquire programming that we then provide to you. NPR and PBS are major, but not the only sources, of that programming, and stations do pay huge fees to acquire it. In that sense, you could say that federal funds are used to support NPR and/or PBS, but only after they are commingled with local funds and filtered through local stations.
The public broadcasting stations in markets like Peoria/Bloomington-Normal do depend significantly on federal support for their very existence. Here at WTVP fully 22% of our annual budget comes from federal support. Without it, many stations—like ours—would need to significantly reduce programming and services, and some would even cease to exist. That is why it is critical that you understand the situation and continue educating Congress on the need for federal support of local stations.
WTVP is a community-owned public television station. Our license holder is the Illinois Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation (IVPTC), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Trustees nominated and elected from throughout Central Illinois. Neither IVPTC nor WTVP are governed or funded by any other educational or government entity.
Our budget is “zero-based” insofar as we begin each fiscal year needing to raise the funds necessary to operate for the next twelve months. More than 70% of our operating budget comes from the generosity of local contributors through pledge drives, mailings, the annual auction, and underwriting. About 22% of our annual budget, about $600,000, comes from the federal funds by way of a community service grant that is based in large part on the local dollars we are able to raise. The remaining portions of our budget are funded by other grants we are able to generate. The loss of 22% of our budget would be catastrophic.
I urge you to keep contact with our Congressmen and Senators and to educate them on your feelings about public broadcasting. This looks to be a long process and we cannot be complacent. If we win this war it will be only by your continued efforts.
I am most grateful for your call, letters and emails to Congress. They do indeed help.
President & CEO
For further information contact Chet Tomczyk, WTVP President & CEO (309) 677-4747 firstname.lastname@example.org
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