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Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Type Private non-profit
Industry Television, Radio
Founded November 7, 1967 (1967-11-07)
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
Area served United States
Key people Patricia Harrison, President and CEO

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a non-profit corporation created by an act of the United States Congress and funded by the United States federal government to promote public broadcasting. Between 15 and 20 percent of the aggregate revenues of all public broadcasting stations have been funded from federal sources, principally through the CPB.[1]

The CPB was created on November 7, 1967, when U.S. president National Educational Television network. In 1969, the CPB talked to private groups to start the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).[2] In 1970, the CPB formed National Public Radio (NPR), a radio network consisting of public stations.[2]

The CPB provides some funding for the PBS, NPR, and, to a lesser extent, for other broadcasters that are independent of those organizations. In more recent years, the CPB has started funding some Internet-based projects.


  • Funding of and by the corporation 1
  • Political composition of the CPB Board 2
  • Objectivity and balance requirements 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Funding of and by the corporation

The CPB's annual budget is composed almost entirely of an annual appropriation from Congress plus interest on those funds.[3] For fiscal year 2014, its appropriation was US$445.5 million, including $.5M in interest earned). The distribution of these funds was as follows:[4]

  • $222.78M for direct grants to local public television stations;
  • $74.63M for television programming grants;
  • $69.31M for direct grants to local public radio stations;
  • $26.67M for PBS support;
  • $22.84M for grants for radio programming and national program production and acquisition;
  • $22.25M for CPB administrative costs;
  • $7.00M for the Radio Program Fund.

Public broadcasting stations are funded by a combination of private donations from listeners and viewers, foundations and corporations (59.4% of 2010 total revenues of all stations), state and local taxes (21.8% of 2010 total revenues), local and national underwriting, and federal funds, principally through the CPB (15.5% of 2010 total revenues).[5]

About 90% of the 2005 budget was distributed to public broadcasters across the U.S., including both local and national organizations. Stations that receive CPB funds must meet certain requirements,[6] such as the maintenance or provision of open meetings, open financial records, a community advisory board, equal employment opportunity, and lists of donors and political activities.

Political composition of the CPB Board

The CPB is governed by a board of directors consisting of nine members. They are selected by the President of the United States, confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. As of February 2011, the board was composed of three Republicans and three Democrats.[7] According to the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the president cannot appoint persons of the same political party to more than five of the nine CPB board seats.

In 2004 and 2005, people from the PBS and NPR complained that the CPB was starting to push a conservative agenda.[8][9] Board members replied that they were merely seeking balance. Polls of the PBS and NPR audiences in 2002 and 2003 indicated that few felt that the groups' news reports contained bias, and those that saw a slant were split as to which side they believed the reports favored.

The charge of a conservative agenda came to a head in 2005. Kenneth Tomlinson, chair of the CPB board from September 2003 until September 2005, angered PBS and NPR supporters by unilaterally commissioning a conservative colleague to conduct a study of alleged bias in the PBS show NOW with Bill Moyers, and by appointing two conservatives as CPB Ombudsmen.[10] On November 3, 2005, Tomlinson resigned from the board, prompted by a report of his tenure by the CPB Inspector General, Kenneth Konz, requested by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The report was made public on November 15. It states:

We found evidence that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) former Chairman violated statutory provisions and the Director’s Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB over creating the show. Our review also found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria [sic] used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices.[11]

Objectivity and balance requirements

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires the CPB to operate with a "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature".[12] It also requires it to regularly review national programming for objectivity and balance, and to report on "its efforts to address concerns about objectivity and balance".

See also


  1. ^ "Public Broadcasting Revenue Fiscal Year 2005" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Thematic Window: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting". PBS. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  3. ^ "About CPB". FINANCIAL INFORMATION. Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Budget, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, accessed September 24, 2014
  5. ^ Public Broadcasting Revenue: Fiscal year 2010
  6. ^ Certification Requirements for Station Grants Recipients
  7. ^ Board of Directors of the CPB
  8. ^ NPR's On the Media interview with Tomlinson, May 6, 2005
  9. ^ NPR's On the Media follow-up, July 15, 2005
  10. ^ CPB Memos Indicate Level of Monitoring, June 30, 2005
  11. ^ Corporation For Public Broadcasting, Office of Inspector General: Review of Alleged Actions Violating The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as Amended, Report No. EPB503-602, November 2006, page i
  12. ^ "The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as amended". Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  13. ^

External links

  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting's official website
  • CPB's official financials, including a history of Federal allocations to the general fund
  • CPB Board's statement on Tomlinson's resignation
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding and Issues Congressional Research Service
  • , the newspaper about public TV and radio in the United StatesCurrent
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