The full Senate Appropriations Committee voted July 14 to restore funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, agreeing to give $400 million to the service in fiscal 2008.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The full Senate Appropriations Committee voted July 14 to restore funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, agreeing to give $400 million to the service in fiscal 2008.

In an effort to keep politics out of public broadcasting, the CPB is funded two years in advance. In addition, the committee agreed to add $35 million next year for CPB to assist stations in the switch to digital television and $40 million for the replacement of public TV's aging satellite interconnection system. The committee also appropriated $25 million for "Ready to Learn" and $11 million for "Ready to Teach," a pair of Education Department programs that help pay for such shows as "Arthur" and "Between the Lions."

"Without this victory, our stations would have been in a severe financial bind," said John Lawson, president/CEO of the Assn. of Public Television Stations. Some smaller stations would have gone off the air, with the entire industry being placed at risk from a very negative ripple effect."

On June 9, the House Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies slashed more than $200 million in funding for public broadcasting. This amounted to a 45% cut from current funding levels. Cuts included rescinding $100 million of funds previously appropriated to CPB, the elimination of all funding for the "Ready" programs, the elimination of funding for the federally-mandated digital conversion program and the elimination of funding for the satellite interconnection system that distributes programming to local stations.

On June 23, the full House voted to restore the previously rescinded $100 million for CPB by a 2-to-1 margin. However, funding for the "Ready" programs, the digital television transition and the satellite interconnection system remained unfunded in the House measure.