The past week has been very difficult for public radio. The unfortunate events at NPR have put the public radio system in greater jeopardy of losing federal funding, and have eclipsed the incredible service provided every day by the reporters, producers, and hosts at VPR, NPR, and at public radio stations across the country.
Federal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides approximately $600,000 annually to VPR, and these funds, combined with listener contributions, business underwriting, and some foundation giving provide the essential revenue VPR needs to bring you the news, music, and cultural programming you count on every day. If CPB funding were lost, VPR would need to make cuts that would affect our program schedule and newsroom.
This week, the U.S. House will take two very important votes regarding funding for public broadcasting:
On Thursday, the House is expected to vote on a “Defund NPR” measure that would prohibit any CPB funds from going directly to NPR and that would prohibit stations from using CPB money to buy programs from NPR, including programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
The House will also consider H.J. Res 48, a three-week continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government through April 8th. While we are pleased that this legislation preserves the FY11 funding for CPB ($430 million), it eliminates funding for the Public Telecommunications Facility Program (PTFP), which has helped VPR repair, rebuild and/or replace critical broadcast equipment. Vermont’s harsh winters are tough on our broadcast equipment, and the mountainous terrain means that we need more broadcast facilities to provide a clear strong signal throughout the region. Most recently, PTFP funding allowed VPR to double the power of WRVT 88.7 in Rutland, increasing the quality of the signal for all listeners and expanding the coverage area to bring public radio to some residents of that area for the first time.
These two votes will have lasting implications for the future of public broadcasting. Please contact your Members of Congress in the House today to express your opinion. You'll find links to take action at www.170millionamericans.org or at the170 Million Americans Facebook page.
Thank you for all you do for VPR and public radio!