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Breathe easier, MPR: Obama doesn’t cut Corporation for Public Broadcasting station grants

It’s a long way from over, but President Obama’s 2012 budget includes no federal cuts to Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) programming grants for radio and TV stations.
Minnesota Public Radio’s member drive has repeatedly emphasized House R

It’s a long way from over, but President Obama’s 2012 budget includes no federal cuts to Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) programming grants for radio and TV stations.

Minnesota Public Radio’s member drive has repeatedly emphasized House Republicans’ push for 2011 cuts and future elimination. CPB general programming grants make up the bulk of federal subsidies to places like MPR, Twin Cities Public Television and Minnesota’s AMPERS public-radio network. 

Obama pledged in his State of the Union speech to freeze discretionary spending for five years. However, CPB general programming grants rise from $430 million in the current fiscal year (2011) to $445 million in 2012.

Obama’s budget, released Monday morning, keeps that appropriation in place through 2014.

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Obama does cut $80 million in CPB grants for digital transition, “interconnection” and fiscal stabilization. The latter was sort of a stimulus fund to help counteract contribution drops during the 2008-09 economic crisis. The digital transition fund would retain $6 million in 2012.

As good constitutionalists know, spending bills originate in the House, where Obama’s plan will inevitably meet GOP resistance. The final deal is months from being known, so MPR can legitimately tout uncertainty. But for the moment, CPB keeps the President in its corner. Will MPR pitchsters mention that?

Here’s the text of the President’s budget note [pdf] on CPB:

General programming.—The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) provides grants to qualified public television and radio stations to be used at their discretion for purposes related to program production or acquisition, as well as for general operations.

CPB also supports the production and acquisition of radio and television programs for national distribution. In addition, CPB assists in the financing of several system-wide activities, including national satellite interconnection services and the payment of music royalty fees, and provides limited technical assistance, research, and planning services to improve systemwide capacity and performance. By custom, CPB has received an advance appropriation. For 2012, appropriations of $445 million were enacted in 2010.

The Administration proposes to continue supporting the Corporation through advance appropriations, and includes $451 million in the Budget for 2014.

Digital Transition.—The Budget proposes that in 2012, $6 million in additional funding be provided to aid public broadcasting entities in completing their transition to digital broadcasting, and in continuing their development of multi-platform capabilities (internet, television, and radio) for delivering content to users.