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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private non-profit corporation created by an act of the United States Congress and largely funded by the United States Federal Government to promote public broadcasting. Historically, 15% to 20% of the aggregate revenues of all public broadcasting stations have been funded from federal sources, principally through CPB.

CPB was created on November 7, 1967 when U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The new organization initially collaborated with the pre-existing National Educational Television network. In 1969 CPB started its own network, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). PBS became independent several years later. In 1970, CPB formed National Public Radio (NPR), a network of public radio stations.

CPB provides some funding for PBS and NPR, but much more of its funding goes to public television and radio stations that are members of PBS or NPR, as well as to other broadcasters that are independent of those organizations. In more recent years, CPB has started funding some Internet-based projects.

Funding of and by CPB

CPB's annual budget is comprised almost entirely of an annual appropriation from Congress plus interest on those funds. For fiscal year 2009, its appropriation was $400 million. A maximum of five percent of this budget goes toward the corporation's administrative costs, with six percent reserved for funds to support the public broadcasting system generally (as opposed to specific stations). CPB also distributed a separate appropriation for conversion to digital television, which was mandated to occur by June 12, 2009.

Public broadcasting stations are funded by a combination of private donations from members, foundations and corporations (60.4% of 2006 total revenues of all stations), state and local taxes (22.2% of 2006 total revenues) and federal funds, principally through CPB (17.3% of 2006 total revenues).

About 90% of the 2005 budget was distributed to public broadcasters across the country, including both local and national organizations. Stations which receive CPB funds must meet certain requirements, such as to maintain or provide:
  1. Open meetings
  2. Open financial records
  3. Community advisory board
  4. Equal employment opportunity
  5. Donor list and political activities


Board members

These nine board members are in office as of September 2009:
  • Ernest J. Wilson III (chair), Democrat, nominated to first term by President Clinton in 2000. Renominated to second term November 2004 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate November 2004. Term expires 2010.
  • Beth Courtney (vice chair), independent, nominated April 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate December 2003. Term expires 2010.
  • Chris Boskin, Republican, nominated June 2006 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate September 2006. Term expires 2012.
  • Patricia Cahill, Democrat, nominated July 2009 by President Obama, confirmed by U.S. Senate August 2009. Term expires 2014.
  • Gay Hart Gaines, Republican, nominated December 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate November 2004. Term expires 2010.
  • Lori Gilbert, Democrat, nominated May 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate October 2008. term expires 2012.
  • Former Senator David H. Pryor, Democrat, nominated to first term by President George W. Bush in 2006. Renominated to second term May 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate October 2008. Term expires 2014.
  • Bruce Ramer, Republican, nominated May 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate October 2008. Terms expires 2012.
  • Elizabeth Sembler, Republican, nominated May 2008 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate October 2008. Term expires 2014.


Political composition of the CPB Board

The CPB has nine board members who serve six-year terms and are selected by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

Currently (January 2009) the CPB board contains four Republicans, three Democrats, and one independent, leaving one seat vacant. According to the Public Broadcasting Act, the White Housemarker cannot appoint persons of the same political party to more than 5 of the 9 CPB board seats.

In 2004 and 2005, there were complaints by people within PBS and NPR that the CPB was starting to push a conservative agenda , while board members counter that they are 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 president of CPB, Patricia Harrison, is a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee; since 2001, its chair has been a Republican.

The charge of a conservative agenda reached a head in 2005. The point man of the controversy, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, was the chair of the CPB board from September 2003 until September 2005. During his time as Chair, he drew the anger of PBS and NPR supporters by unilaterally commissioning a study of alleged bias of the PBS show, NOW with Bill Moyers, conducted by a conservative colleague, and by appointing two conservatives as CPB Ombudsmen. On November 3, 2005, Tomlinson resigned from the board in the face of allegations of scandal. A report of his tenure by the CPB Inspector General, Kenneth Konz, requested by House Democrats, prompted his resignation. On November 15, the report was made public. It 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 PBS and the CPB over creating the show." It also "found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices".

Logos

Logo Originally
used
Debuted Ended
1967-2000
2003-2005
November 7, 1967 c. 2000
2000- c. 2000 TBA


See also



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