So what would actually happen if Republicans in Washington defunded the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?
“Public television stations are significantly more vulnerable than public radio stations,” said Tom Thomas, co-CEO of the Station Resource Group, a membership organization that, among other things, formulates long-term strategy for public media stations.
TV stations both rely on federal funding for a higher percentage of their budgets and have greater fixed costs that cannot be trimmed in tight times. In contrast, Thomas told me on The Pub, “It takes a lot to kill a radio station, I’ve got to say. Because we’ve certainly seen examples where it’s been tried!”
On this week’s show, we try to get the most detailed picture possible of what would actually happen if the Trump administration’s stated goal of totally defunding CPB becomes a reality this year.
We also consider one argument as to why the CPB should be defunded that has been articulated in recent days by an unlikely source: sitting CPB board member Howard Husock. He comes back to The Pub to discuss his Washington Post op-ed “Public broadcasting shouldn’t get a handout from taxpayers anymore.” (For what it’s worth, Husock didn’t write the headline.)
Plus, I consult with a Senate procedure expert and a lobbyist for public media organizations who used to be a Hill staffer about how likely it is that the CPB will really get the ax anytime soon.
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.