The Senate passed an appropriations bill, tax cuts and an economic relief package Monday that includes a $10 million increase in CPB’s funding for fiscal year 2023.
The base appropriation for CPB will grow to $475 million that year. CPB was seeking $515 million for FY23. Its appropriation is set two years in advance.
Ready To Learn will receive $29.5 million in FY21, an increase of $500,000. The Department of Education grant program funds public television educational content, research and community outreach for educators. Funding for interconnection will remain level at $20 million.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the funding measures.
“The federal appropriation supports more than 1,500 local public media stations and the valued services that address their communities’ educational, informational and public safety needs,” said CPB President Pat Harrison in a news release. “Since the COVID pandemic started, Americans have turned to public media in record numbers to access innovative educational services that support at-home learning, for trusted journalism to help understand uncertain times, and to utilize local stations’ workforce development resources to discover in-demand jobs and career opportunities.”
“America’s Public Television Stations are grateful for this increase in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which continues the process of restoring the nearly $100 million in purchasing power public broadcasting has lost in a decade of frozen funding,” said APTS CEO Pat Butler in a news release. “This increase will enable public television stations to educate more children, protect more lives and property, and enable more well-informed citizens to guide the world’s most important democracy.”
The congressional package totals $2.3 trillion, of which $900 billion is earmarked for emergency relief. The package does not include an additional $175 million in emergency funding for public media, which CPB had sought since April.
“While the $900 billion package does not include specific funding for public media, it does provide additional funding to several CARES Act programs that have provided assistance to public media stations, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and education funding,” Butler said in a statement to Current. “President-elect Biden is likely to propose another COVID-19 relief package early in his Administration and we will continue to advocate for additional dedicated emergency funding for public media stations.”
Also missing from the package was a line item that could have boosted a FEMA grant program that would give public media funding to support public safety projects. A group of organizations were also seeking direct support that could have helped freelance filmmakers. While that didn’t make it into the bill, the funding measure does create unemployment benefits to assist freelancers, gig workers, contractors and people who are self-employed.
In his statement, Butler said funding increases are important for the future as stations voluntarily adopt the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard, improve datacasting technology and explore ways to support telehealth, agriculture and Smart Cities connections.