Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

CPB Funding Overview

KUT 90.5 and KUTX 98.9 CPB Funding Overview

The State of Public Media Funding
In February 2020, President Trump’s proposed budget for FY21 (pg 100) proposes to “eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two-year period. … To conduct an orderly transition away from federal funding, the Budget requests $30 million for agency close-out costs for 2021. This would fund facilities costs, personnel liabilities, and existing contracts. Close-out costs are estimated to be $58 million over the phase-out period.”

The president’s proposed budget will go to Congress for approval this spring.

This proposed budget slashes the CPB budget from its current level of $445 million annually to $30 million annually over two years in order to “transition away from federal funding.”

Congress, which sets budget levels for federal agencies, has defied President Trump’s previous attempts to end CPB funding in the past. Even when Republicans held both chambers of Congress, lawmakers kept public media funding at its current level.

The CPB is forward-funded by two years to allow public broadcasters to leverage the federal dollars and to protect content from political interference. The CPB received $445 million from Congress for the current fiscal year and expects to receive another $445 million in FY21. In December 2019, the Senate approved an increase to $465 million – the first increase in a decade –  for FY22, which President Trump signed into law. The CPB is requesting $515 million for FY23.

The CPB provides grants to NPR and PBS stations across the country. While these grants represent a small share of the total funding to NPR and PBS, CPB funding is particularly essential for small- and medium- sized stations.

CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison responded:

“We look forward to working with Congress in the continued pursuit of our statutory public service mission of supporting educational, informational and diverse content that addresses the needs of our nation’s citizens -- a mission the American people overwhelmingly trust in and support.

“The federal appropriation to CPB is the foundation of our uniquely American, public-private partnership that supports our nation’s public media system --  a system of more than 1,500 locally controlled and operated public television and radio stations across the country. This seed money pays invaluable dividends to millions of Americans and their families in the form of content and resources that educate, inform and inspire.

“Through public media initiatives such as American Graduate and Ready To Learn, stations provide high-quality educational content and community engagement that helps Americans prepare for success in school and career. As the most trusted news source in America, local public media stations offer journalism that elevates local stories to a national audience. Further, public media stations’ infrastructure provides critical communications functions during local and national emergencies to first responders and emergency management officials."


What is the CPB’s role in public broadcasting?

  • The CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) is distinct from both NPR and PBS. It is not a broadcaster, producer or content creator, but a private, non-profit corporation created by Congress in 1967 with two primary functions: to serve as a firewall between politics and public broadcasting, and to help fund local stations, programming and technology.
  • For many small- and medium-sized stations, the CPB is the largest single source of support.

Why does public broadcasting need federal funding?

  • Federal funding is essential to the funding mix that supports public broadcasting, providing critical seed money and essential operating support to local stations. KUT and KUTX leverage each $1 of federal funding to raise approximately $20 from local sources — a strong return on taxpayer investment.
  • Federal funding provides essential support for public broadcasting’s mission to ensure universal access to high-quality, non-commercial programming that educates, informs, enlightens and enriches the public, with a particular focus on the needs of underserved audiences in their local communities.
  • In many rural areas, public broadcasting is the only source of free local, national and international news, public affairs and cultural programming – and with such small populations, these stations often rely more heavily on federal funding. Without it, they would likely be unable to continue to provide local communities with the news, information, cultural and educational programming that they currently provide, and some could even go off the air altogether.
  • The CPB negotiates music licensing for all public stations and provides administrative support, allowing stations to aggregate together for cost-effective sharing of information, research and services.

What we know today here at KUT and KUTX

  • CPB receives federal funding from Congress two years in advance, per the Public Broadcasting Act.  A system designed to provide a buffer between funding and changes in the political climate. Federal funding for the current fiscal year, FY20, has been received by the CPB, which has begun distributing payments to stations, including KUT and KUTX.
  • Funding has not been appropriated for FY21/22.
  • Annual funding for the CPB has been level at $445 million for several years. That amounts to about $1.35 per citizen per year.

How much CPB funding does KUT and KUTX receive?

  • This year, approximately 5.04 percent of KUT and KUTX’s budgeted revenue will come from the CPB – $665,423. Our entire operating budget is $13.21M with 87 percent of that support coming from local members and businesses.
  • We use 100 percent of our CPB grant to help cover the production and broadcasting costs of the local and national programs you hear on KUT and KUTX each day.

What would happen if KUT and KUTX lost CPB funding?
We believe it is important to receive funding from diverse sources, including individual listeners, local businesses, foundations and the CPB. Losing CPB funds would have a noticeable effect on our ability to serve the community with local news and music programming.

What can I do to support public media?
A strong, diverse base of grassroots advocates is essential to ensuring the retention of federal funding. You can learn more at Protect My Public Media, a collaboration of local public radio and television stations, national distributors, producers, viewers, listeners and others who support a strong public media in the U.S.

KUT and KUTX Funding Sources

KUT and KUTX Funding Sources