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.
Please subscribe to The Pub in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily.
We welcome your feedback on the show: You can reach me at email@example.com or @aragusea on Twitter; my supervising producer at Current, Mike Janssen, is at firstname.lastname@example.org; and you can contact Current generally at email@example.com or @currentpubmedia on Twitter.
If you’d like to offer a comment to be used in the program, please send on-mic tape (recorded in a studio, with a kit, a smartphone, anything) to firstname.lastname@example.org either as an attachment or through Google Drive. Please keep it short!
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.