PBS closed fiscal year 2022 with $8.1 million in net income, about $700,000 more than previous forecasts.
Most of the surplus was attributed to decreased spending on content and marketing, CFO and Treasurer Tom Tardivo said during a Tuesday meeting of the PBS board’s finance committee. A slide he presented showed content and marketing spending was $4.5 million below forecast, due in part to reduced programming grant and Ready to Learn activity and delays in an unspecified PBS Digital Studios acquisition. Tardivo also told the committee that PBS is currently debt-free.
Spending reductions of $3.9 million were due to timing issues on PBS programming and RTL grants and only affected content expenditures, according to PBS spokesperson Jason Phelps. PBS’ spending on marketing in FY 2022 was on budget.
On the recommendations of PBS management and the finance committee, the PBS board on Wednesday voted to transfer the $8.1 million to the CEO Roadmap to the Future Fund.
The fund was created by PBS’ board in 2004 and can be tapped by CEO Paula Kerger at her discretion. Last fall the board allocated $30.4 million in net income to the fund after an especially strong fiscal year. Funds from the Roadmap to the Future have previously supported PBS Foundation operations and education, arts and DEI initiatives.
PBS spokesperson Jason Phelps said he couldn’t specify how much money is in the fund. A draft of PBS’ FY 2023 budget, which was released to stations this spring, projected a balance of $60 million for this year.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include details about PBS’ spending on content and marketing that weren’t discussed during the public portion of the finance committee’s Oct. 11 meeting.