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If Trump’s plan to eliminate funding for public broadcasting is carried out, public broadcasting at all levels would be affected

Nieman Lab

You might have heard: In his first federal budget plan, Trump proposes eliminating all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well eliminating the endowments for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (New York Times)

But did you know: Though Trump’s proposed budget is not finalized (and has to be approved by Congress), we do have some sense of what the future of public broadcasting might be if the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s funding is eliminated. In 2012, CPB commissioned Booz Allen Hamilton to forecast what would happen if the system lost its federal funding. Booz Allen Hamilton concluded, “There is simply no substitute for the federal investment to accomplish the public service mission that Congress has assigned to public broadcasters and that the American people overwhelmingly support.” The study found that the system would be affected at all levels, and many of the larger public broadcasters (think NPR, American Public Media, Boston’s WGBH) “would be forced to cut already lean production budgets,” likely cutting back their offerings or raising prices for local stations. “That, in turn, would impact the remaining stations, further undermining their ability to attract viewers, listeners, and support,” the study says.

+ If Congress supports Trump’s proposal, CPB CEO Patricia Harrison says it would cause “the collapse of the public media system itself and the end of this essential national service” (CNN Money); “Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would primarily affect local public broadcasters, not PBS and NPR,” Callum Borchers writes. “In other words, defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would mean hurting the local TV and radio stations that a whole lot of Republican voters watch and listen to” (Washington Post)

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