NPR’s decision to can Juan Williams after making some perfectly innocuous comments about Muslims has lead to renewed calls for ending subsidized public broadcasting in America.
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller was asked if NPR could survive without federal subsidies by Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and she made it pretty clear that public subsidies are inconsequential to them:
Q: Could NPR live without federal funding?
A: Let’s go on a sidebar. There’s a misperception about federal funding and public radio. There’s the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They receive $90 million a year and a vast majority goes to member public radio stations. Those stations pull in more than $1 billion collectively a year. It’s significant and important but not even close to the lion’s share of revenues for public radio. NPR gets no allocation from CPB. Zero. We are a private 501(c)3. We’ve had journalists call up and ask what department of the government we report to. That’s laughable. Have you listened to our shows? We do apply for competitive grants from the likes of the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. As a result, some money from CPB does come to us when we win grants. Depending on the year, it represents just one to three percent of our total budget.
Q: What is your annual budget?
A: $160 million a year from station fees and dues, corporate underwriting, philanthropic contributions from individuals and corporation and earned income and earnings from our endowment.
That’s great. I’m glad NPR is so successful.
If they don’t need public subsidies, then let’s end them. Because while NPR doesn’t need the money, our national budget with its $13.6 trillion national debt and annual $1 trillion+ deficits could sure use it back.