Federal Funding Investment

Posted by Tom Axtell on

Tom Axtell, General ManagerTom Axtell, General Manager

As you may have read, there are some in Washington who support the
elimination of federal funding for public service television stations like
Vegas PBS.

When we’ve faced this challenge before, we’ve always found strong
bipartisan support in Congress for continued federal support. Still, this
seems an appropriate time to share some thoughts on how we invest federal dollars and
what an elimination of this funding source might mean for the services your membership
support helps sponsor.

This year, Vegas PBS will receive $1,308,231 in federal matching funds.This amount
is equal to about 59 cents a year for every person in our viewing area, and makes up
about 11 percent of our annual budget. For these 59 cents, we are required to broadcast
a free, universally accessible program service that (1) provides at least 35 hours
of curriculum-correlated educational children’s programs weekly, (2) produces local
programs, public service promotions, and/or outreach events that address community
concerns, (3) provides a redundant path for transmission of Presidential and local
emergency messages via TV channels and cell phone networks, and (4) secures most of
our funding from non-federal revenues.

To meet the children’s programming requirements, we license and broadcast 79 hours
a week of educational programs on Channel 10.1, plus an additional 168 hours a week
on PBS KIDS. We hold more than 1,100 educational workshops annually to help
parents better use PBS KIDS programs, websites and mobile apps to increase their
children’s academic and social achievement. We partner with public, private, charter
and home schools to provide online classroom resources and tools to assist special
needs children with their education.

All this for just 59 cents per person a year.

To meet the local programming requirements, Vegas PBS annually produces over
250 hours of local television on education, public health, arts, outdoor recreation and
local history, and an additional 250 hours of educational videos, public service
announcements and public access meetings for Internet distribution with over 200 community
partners. We extend the impact of our over-the-air programming by hosting
more than 15 job fairs a year and annually enroll almost 127,000 adults in career
programs that result in a high school diploma, continuing education credit or a career
certification.

For just 59 cents per person a year.

To meet the public safety requirement, the PBS interconnection system serves as
part of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and our transmitters
carry text messages for Wireless Emergency Alerts and encrypted data for local
first responders.

For just 59 cents per person a year.

It bears mention that federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
is distributed primarily to local PBS stations using a matching formula. The more
non-federal funding we raise, the greater our share of the CPB matching funding.
At Vegas PBS, individuals, corporations, foundations and competitive grants provide
nine dollars for every one dollar we earn in federal matching funds.

This is a spectacular public-private partnership – led by donors like you. Whatever
your position, please share your thoughts on federal funding with me and our elected
officials. For more information please visit ProtectMyPublicMedia.org

Tom Axtell
General Manager

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