The Administration's FY 2018 budget blueprint released yesterday proposes to elimnate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) end future funding for public broadcasting. This step by the Administration is one of the first in a long process to decide funding levels for the federal government. Ultimately, Congress will make final decisions on continuing the annual federal investment in WEMU and the public broadcasting system. We recognize the seriousness of this moment and also know of the long-standing, bipartisan congressional support for public broadcasting.
Without the critical seed money from the CPB, local stations, like WEMU, will be forced to drastically cut the content and services our communities rely on. The lifesaving emergency communications, local programming, educational content, trusted news, locally hosted and curated music programs, and other services WEMU provides could disappear.
Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the CPB, made the following statement regarding the President's proposed elimination of federal funding for public media.
"There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media's educational and informational programming and services. The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media's role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions -- all for Americans in both rural and urban communities.
This week's release of the Administration's budget recommendations begins a long process of congressional review. We have been working together with you and with our colleagues in public television to ensure that we are prepared to meet challenges that may arise. Recently, we learned that nearly 42 million Americans listen to public radio programming each week, a new all time record audience. The value and importance of public radio are widely recognized and embraced. We begin the annual congressional appropriations process well organized and ready for action.
Public media is one of America's best investments. At approximately $1.35 per citizen per year, it pays huge dividends to every American. From expanding opportunity, beginning with proven children's educational content to providing essential news and information as well as ensuring public safety and homeland security through emergency alerts, this vital investment strengthens our communities. It is especially critical for those living in small towns and in rural and underserved areas.
Viewers and listeners appreciate that public media is non-commercial and available for free to all Americans. We will work with the new Administration and Congress in raising awareness that elimination of federal funding to CPB begins the collapse of the public media system itself and the end of this essential national service."
The best way to take action against the elimination of CPB and federal funding for public broadcasting is to make your gift of support to WEMU right now. Advocacy in the form of action sends a serious message to Washington, that WEMU and other public broadcasters are essential to the cultural vibrancy and civic well being of our communities. More than 60,000 people depend on and listen to WEMU every week; the largest audience in our history. Community public radio matters to you.
To everyone who has already given to the spring pledge drive, we thank you. If you haven't made your gift yet, please do so now. Our future is in your hands.