Shiller: Lets go on a sidebar. Theres a misperception about federal funding and public radio. Theres 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. Its significant and important but not even close to the lions share of revenues for public radio. NPR gets no allocation from CPB. Zero. We are a private 501(c)3. Weve had journalists call up and ask what department of the government we report to. Thats 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.
The elimination of federal funding would be a significant blow to nearly 900 public radio stations that serve the needs of more than 38 million Americans with free over-the-air programming they can't find anywhere else. It would diminish stations' ability to bring high-quality local, national and international news to their communities, as well as local arts, music and cultural programming that other media don't present. Rural and economically distressed communities could lose access to this programming altogether if their stations go dark.