NPR CEO: We Don’t Need Public Funding

National Public Radio's Juan Williams shown in this April 2001 file photo has been fired for comments he made regaring Muslims, it has been reported on October 21, 2010. Williams, who appeared on the television show The O'Reilly Factor on October 18, 2010, made the following comment to Bill O'Reilly, Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous, Williams said. Before working for NPR, Williams spent 21 years at The Washington Post as an editorial writer and White House reporter. UPI/Bill Greenblatt/FILES Photo via Newscom

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.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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