America’s unique public broadcasting system is a collaboration of 1,300 local non-commercial radio and television stations that meet the standards of and are supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. They work with each other and with hundreds of national and local producers and community partners to ensure that Americans have universal access to high-quality non-commercial programming with a particular focus on the needs of underserved audiences, including children, minorities, and low-income Americans.
Public broadcasting is local. Stations are locally licensed and governed, locally programmed, and locally staffed. In many rural areas, public broadcasting is the only source of free local, national and international news, public affairs, and cultural programming.
Public broadcasting supports lifelong learning for all Americans. Investments in children’s educational, cultural, public affairs and news programming, digital classroom resources, teacher training, and distance learning have made public broadcasting a leader in lifelong learning.
Public broadcasting engages more than half of all Americans every month. 170 million Americans connect through 368 public television stations, 934 public radio stations, hundreds of online services, and in-person events and activities(1).
Public broadcasting is a great investment. Unlike public broadcasting systems throughout the world, America’s public broadcasters do not rely upon the government as their primary source of funding(2). On average, federal funding amounts to less than 14 percent of a station’s budget, with the remaining 86 percent coming from local sources(3).
Public broadcasting is one of the most effective public/private partnerships in America. Annual federal funding amounts to only $1.35 per American and is leveraged by local stations to raise six times that amount from other sources.
Public broadcasting reflects the values of viewers and listeners, not advertisers. America has tremendous diversity of broadcasting outlets, but only public broadcasting is commercial free. This is one reason why public broadcasting is so highly trusted by the American people.
Public broadcasting is more important than ever: The rapidly changing media environment is making public broadcasting more and more vital as a source of unbiased news, local cultural programming, and non-commercial educational programs designed to enhance the quality of life of our local communities. Public broadcasting is a source of children’s programming, public affairs, music, and culture information that is often not provided by other sources.
Public broadcasting strengthens our democracy. The free flow of ideas and debate helps us participate in the political process as informed citizens.
Public broadcasting provides vital programming for parents and children. While certainly there are other media options for parents and children, only public broadcasting offers children’s programming free from commercial considerations. Public broadcasting has the best interests of children as its sole objective. This is one reason why parents and teachers trust public broadcasting, and why maintaining our public broadcasting system is so important.
Public Media Embraces the Digital Future. Public broadcasting content is now available through broadcast, cable, satellite, satellite radio, the Internet, and wireless devices. Public broadcasting is committed to a multi-platform presence, to be available anywhere at anytime to the public it serves. Local stations partner with museums, libraries and other community organizations to make great content available to the public for free on mobile devices and online. They are teaming up with start-ups and innovators to break new ground in educational and informational materials.
(1) SOURCE: http://170millionamericans.org/numbers
(2) However, this federal support is critical seed money for local stations which leverage each federal dollar to raise over six more dollars from local sources in order to provide the American public with the highest quality programming and services.
(3) SOURCE: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Public Broadcasting Revenue, September 2009