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Proposed House Appropriations bill eliminates federal funding for public media

Last week, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) Appropriations Subcommittees passed its Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations bill that eliminates federal funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The bill also entirely cuts funding for a program called Interconnection, public media’s distribution network that enables viewers and listeners to receive programs and emergency alerts.

The public broadcasting system was established by Congress more than 50 years ago to deepen local connections in civic life and provide a public forum for voices in the community that may not be heard.

It is one of the most effective public-private partnerships in the country and has received broad, bipartisan support, which is why we find the elimination of federal funding in the House appropriations bill to be shocking.

As public media’s single largest source of funding, this would be devastating to the entire system, as well as to WUWM. Despite being mostly funded by individual donations from community members, CPB funding represents a vital important stream of funding in our annual budget mix.

If CPB funding were cut, it would greatly hinder our ability to continue producing and broadcasting high-quality, award-winning news, smart talk, and entertainment for you.

Our work helps you develop a deeper understanding of the important issues facing the region, Wisconsin, and the nation, and importantly, we believe that it helps you build stronger civic connections to their friends and neighbors in Southeast Wisconsin. An elimination of CPB funding would eliminate the production of these kinds of stories, further the fragmentation of local media, and create a vacuum of high-quality, fact-based, local journalism.

We have joined Protect My Public Media, a coalition of grassroots advocates and public media stations and organizations to tell Congress about the impact of these proposed cuts. To learn more about this effort and how you can help, visit www.protectmypublicmedia.org.

David Lee is WUWM's director and general manager.