APTS, NPR retooling 170 Million Americans campaign

A grassroots initiative that encourages citizens to lobby Capitol Hill for continued funding to public media is changing its name, revamping its website and updating its social-media outreach. Starting July 15, the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting initiative, which launched in December 2010, will become Protect My Public Media, according to a message sent to supporters July 1. In a statement posted June 14 on the National Friends of Public Broadcasting website, NPR’s Mike Riksen said pubcasting’s Washington representatives have been working over several months to make the campaign “a more capable and vital asset in our efforts to preserve federal funding for public broadcasting stations.”

NPR has been collaborating with the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) to revamp the campaign, he said. Riksen is NPR’s v.p. of policy and representation. Representatives for NPR and APTS declined to discuss the changes with Current.

APTS chief sees renewed battle over CPB aid

APTS President Patrick Butler is warning public broadcasters of continued threats to their federal funding this summer as Congress takes up work on appropriations for the next federal budget. During an appearance at the Public Media Business Association conference this morning, Butler recalled a private meeting with a key House Republican from Georgia who opposes federal aid to CPB. Rep. Jack Kingston, chair of the House appropriations subcommittee with oversight over CPB, told Butler that he plans to zero-out CPB funding. “He told me point blank, in January, that he was going to do everything he could to eliminate our funding,” Butler said during a PMBA breakfast meeting at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. Public TV’s top lobbyist expects Kingston to introduce the bill in June. “I’m sure there will be a big zero in his bill for public broadcasting,” he said.

Appropriation cuts lead to layoffs and furloughs throughout CPB

CPB has laid off 12 employees and eliminated three vacant positions in a downsizing prompted by the federal budget sequestration and other cuts to its appropriation. The job cuts, announced today, extend across all departments and range from administrative to vice president levels, said Michael Levy, executive v.p. of corporate and public affairs. Taken together, the downsizing reduces CPB’s workforce by 11 percent. CPB will also trim its payroll by requiring all senior vice presidents and executive officers to take one-week furloughs before Sept. 30, the end of CPB’s fiscal year.