NPR Funding Targeted In New House Spending Bill

October 6th, 2011 5:33 PM

Washington ( – A draft of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Funding Bill for fiscal year 2012 blocks Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) funding for National Public Radio (NPR) programming.

The draft of the U.S. House bill states that “none of the funds made available to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting … may be used to pay dues to, acquire programs from, or otherwise support National Public Radio.”

CPB funding reaches NPR chiefly through public radio stations that pay to air NPR programs.

The publicly-funded corporation will provide $102.4 million in community service grants to more than 400 public radio stations nationwide in FY 2012, according to its 2012/2014 appropriations justification report.

Stations use that money to acquire programming from national sources like NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), and American Public Media (APM) – although exactly how much is unclear.

“NPR programming continued to be the single largest source of programming on NPR member stations (in terms of quarter hours) in the spring of 2011,” according to Kyle Anderson, Democratic communications director for the House Administration Committee.

“NPR programming composed 30.1 percent of the programming for NPR member stations during this period," he said.

Public radio stations produce only about 29 percent of their own programming, according to the CPB Web site.

While all public radio stations rely on CPB funds, rural stations tend to be more dependent than urban stations due to factors like a lower population density and limited potential for private support.

The appropriation report said that, according to the CPB, “in FY 2009, 108 rural stations relied on CPB for at least 25 percent of their revenue; while 22 rural stations, many on Native American reservations, relied on CPB funding for at least 50 percent of their revenue.”

CPB has also awarded grants to NPR to perform research projects and develop programs, but this income formed a negligible portion of NPR’s budget.

“From fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2010, NPR received approximately $6.4 million from 14 CPB grants to conduct high-definition radio research and development, carry out public media projects, and produce nationally distributed programs,” according to a May 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.

Those grants formed about 1 percent of NPR’s operating budget in 2010, it said.

The Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Service released a draft of the bill on September 29.

The draft will go through subcommittee markup before being put to the full committee for recommendation to the House. The bill will then require Senate approval before it reaches the president’s desk.

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