Maine Public’s Federal Funding Overview

With a new Administration and Congress now in office, we have fielded many communications around federal funding for public broadcasting nationwide and here in Maine.

What is CPB's role in public broadcasting?

  • The CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) is distinct from both NPR and PBS. It is not a broadcaster, but a private corporation created by Congress in 1967 with two primary functions: to serve as a firewall between partisan politics and public broadcasting, and to help fund programming, stations and technology.

Why does public broadcasting need federal funding?

  • Federal funding is essential to the funding mix that supports public broadcasting. CPB funding provides critical seed money and basic operating support to local stations, which then leverage each $1 of federal funding to raise over $5 from local sources — a strong return on the 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, including children and people of color.
  • 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 they often rely more heavily on federal funding. Without it, these stations would likely be unable to continue to provide local communities with news, information, cultural and educational programming that they currently provide, and could even go off the air altogether.
  • In addition, the CPB helps negotiate music rights 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 Maine Public

  • Funding for the current fiscal year, FY2017, has been distributed to the CPB, and first payments have been made to stations, including Maine Public.
  • The appropriation for the CPB is booked two years in advance, which is designed to provide a buffer between funding and changes in the political climate. Therefore, funding has been secured for FY2018 and FY2019, but has not yet been distributed. Technically, these appropriations could be rescinded, but it would take an act of Congress to make that happen.
  • Annual funding for the CPB has been level at $445 million for several years. That amounts to about $1.35 per American per year.
  • A recent article in the Portland Press Herald addressed how the new administration in Washington could affect the arts in Maine.

How much CPB funding does Maine Public receive?

  • This year, approximately 14 percent of Maine Public's budgeted revenue will come from the CPB, about $1,690,000. Maine Public’s entire operating budget is $12,268,144 and 51% of that support comes from membership and donor support.

What would happen if Maine Public lost CPB funding?

  • At Maine Public, we feel it's important to receive funding from many 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.

Where can I learn more?

  • A strong, diverse base of grassroots advocates is essential to ensuring the retention of federal funding. A great resource is the Protect My Public Media website. Look to participate in a testimonial campaign that Maine Public will launch this spring called “I LOVE Maine Public!” – we’d love to hear how public broadcasting in Maine enriches your life!

Maine Public’s Funding Sources

For more information: