On March 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate coronavirus relief legislation. Within this legislation was $175 million in COVID-related assistance for the nation’s 1,400 public radio and television stations. The funds, to be distributed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will help maintain local stations’ enhanced programming and services, and protect the most financially vulnerable stations serving rural and remote communities.
The inclusion of these funds for public broadcasters is being called “vital” for public stations to continue to provide and expand the essential services that they provide Americans, according to America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) President and CEO Patrick Butler.
Butler, in a press release praising the relief package’s passing in the Senate, said that public TV stations have been providing remote education services, health information, government coverage and public safety communications to people throughout the country with mostly unbudgeted funds and while losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The funding included in the bill will help public TV stations continue to provide these services.
“We are grateful for the broad bipartisan support for this emergency funding for public media among both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate,” Butler said. “We will do our best with the resources we have to continue to respond effectively to serve our country and our fellow citizens as we get through this crisis.”