The Association of Public
Television Stations said Monday that while government funding may only be about
15% of noncommercial TV stations' budgets, it is a crucial 15%.
President Lonna Thompson was joining the defense of noncommercial media
against calls by some Republican legislators to cut back or defund the service
in the wake of NPR's firing of Juan Williams.
"[T]hat 15 percent is
the most important funding in their budgets because stations use this funding
to leverage independent fundraising and support important areas that often
aren't covered by foundation funding, corporate underwriting and other revenue
sources," Thompson said Monday.
She said they were
particularly important to local stations in "the most underserved
communities" during the current recession. "So long as it remains
unprofitable to invest in programming that does not reach the highest expected
audience numbers in the most favored demographic categories, ignoring community
needs, commercial television will not play that role."
"NAB has long supported a strong and vibrant public broadcasting system," comment National Association of Broadcasters President Dennis Wharton. "We're disappointed by factually inaccurate suggestions from APTS that free and local commercial broadcasters have abandoned our commitment to serving communities."
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