APTS congressional champion delivers ‘tough love’ to pubTV leaders

A radio broadcaster-turned lawmaker who chairs a key House subcommittee with oversight of CPB delivered a pointed critique to public TV station execs about their prospects for preserving federal aid in the 113th Congress. During a Feb. 26 breakfast hosted by the Association of Public Television Stations at the Library of Congress, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R) warned a roomful of station executives that they face an uphill battle in rebuilding bipartisan support for the field. Republican views of public broadcasting are colored by negative baggage carried over from the 2010-11 political scandals over NPR, and the notion that increased competition from cable and digital channels has made public TV less relevant to television viewers, Walden said. The event, part of APTS’s annual Public Media Summit, celebrated Walden as a “Champion of Public Broadcasting,” and the lawmaker used the occasion to deliver what APTS President Patrick Butler later called “tough love.”

Walden referred to recommendations of a 2007 Government Accountability Office report on public TV’s financing to make his point.