PBS proposes hike in station dues and strategic investments for FY24

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PBS is proposing a 3% station dues increase in its draft budget for fiscal year 2024.

If approved, the budget presented to the PBS board Wednesday would generate a total of $218.3 million in station dues, an increase of $6.4 million from FY23. The proposal will be distributed to station leaders for feedback before the board votes to adopt the final budget in June.

PBS projects that its total FY24 budget will break even at $372.2 million, according to Maxine Clark, chair of the board’s finance committee. The FY23 budget that the board approved last June totaled $359.4 million.

PBS plans to “leverage” some of its reserve funds to make strategic investments, President Paula Kerger told the board.

The draft budget invests in data security and privacy and upgrades to the user interface for the membership streaming platform PBS Passport, Clark said. PBS also wants to allocate resources into finding more ways to spotlight local content and introducing more live local linear feeds. “PBS will invest $14.4 million of its own funds,” she said.

Clark broke down the sources for PBS’ proposed investments: $8.9 million will be transferred from board designated net assets. About $1.5 million of those funds will come from “anticipated full year 2023 net income surplus from the PBS Foundation.”

PBS also plans to transfer $4.3 million of investment returns into the operating budget and to spend $1.2 million of “prior year uncommitted content funds.”

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