By Chris Sieroty, Las Vegas Review-Journal
October 16, 2011
For much of its life, public broadcasting has relied on a mix of local and federal taxpayer support, program underwriting by foundations and corporations, and small donations from viewers, often during on-air fund drives.
While VegasPBS thrives, independent public television stations are an endangered species in some places. According to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributed $446 million in federal support to about 1,300 public radio and TV stations in fiscal 2012, funding for public television has dropped by about $120 million over the last two years alone. Several stations have gone dark or sold out to other operators.
Concern for public broadcasting’s future has prompted formation of a new nonprofit, Independent Public Media, to help foundering stations.
“Public television remains a vital information source that finds itself in the same evolutionary process as print journalism,” said John Schwartz, president of EBS Cos., which founded IPM. “Old financing models no longer work; a new model must emerge if public television is to survive.”