Ken's Project Blog

October 22, 2010

NPR Funding Sources

Filed under: media,Politics — Ken @ 3:14 pm

NPR Logo

Thanks to my friend on twitter @ggreenwald (not sure it’s reciprocal, but that’s OK) I have a very, very informative posting on the sources of NPR funding – direct from NPR.

The takeaway from this posting, with regard to the latest calls to “defund NPR,” is that NPR, the parent organization, does not receive any direct federal funding, instead it is the local affiliate stations that get about 6% of their operating budget from federal sources. NPR is largely operating on programming fees from the affiliates (40%) and sponsorships (26%) as well as direct donations (like the $200 Million donation from Ray Kroc’s widow (about 5%)).

At the local station level, about 10% of their revenue comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967. The mission of CPB is outlined in the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 (as amended). In brief, CPB’s mission is to facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, non-commercial high-quality programming and telecommunications services. It does this in conjunction with non-commercial educational telecommunications licensees across America.


And another 5-6% of non-specific federal, state, and local government aid (See NPR Public Radio Finance page). Can any of the money from CPB or other taxpayer funded sources be traced to NPR through subscription/programming fees? Perhaps. But just as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was wrongly vilified for the possibility of some of the $100,000/year in foriegn dues might have been used to pay for political ads, this attack on the funding of NPR are mis-directed. (Others claim the number is closer to $885,000 – so noted.)

Calls for the government to defund NPR are, in my opinion, mis-guided, and I hope this post, based largely on NPR’s own information, explains how I got to that decision based on the facts, not jingoistic rhetoric.


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