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Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is an American privately owned non-profit corporation created in 1967 by an act of the United States Congress and funded by the federal government to promote and help support public broadcasting.[3] The corporation's mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services. It does so by distributing more than 70 percent of its funding to more than 1,400 locally owned public radio and television stations.[4]

Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Private non-profit[1][2]
Founded November 7, 1967; 50 years ago (1967-11-07)
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
Area served
United States
Key people
Patricia Harrison, President and CEO



The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created on November 7, 1967, when U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The new organization initially collaborated with the National Educational Television network—which would become the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Ward Chamberlin Jr. was the first operating officer.[5] On March 27, 1968, it was registered as a nonprofit corporation in the District of Columbia.[6] In 1969, the CPB talked to private groups to start PBS.[7]

On February 26, 1970, the CPB formed National Public Radio (NPR), a network of public-radio stations. Unlike PBS, NPR produces and distributes programming.[6] On May 31, 2002, CPB, through a first round of funding from a special appropriation, helped public television stations making the transition to digital broadcasting; this was complete by 2009.[6]

Funding of and by the corporationEdit

The CPB's annual budget is composed almost entirely of an annual appropriation from Congress plus interest on those funds. 95 per cent of the corporation's appropriation goes directly to content development, community services, and other local station and system needs.[8]

For fiscal year 2014, its appropriation was US$445.5 million, including $500,000 in interest earned. The distribution of these funds was as follows:[9]

  • $222.78M for direct grants to local public television stations;
  • $74.63M for television programming grants;
  • $69.31M for direct grants to local public radio stations;
  • $26.67M for PBS support;
  • $22.84M for grants for radio programming and national program production and acquisition;
  • $22.25M for CPB administrative costs;
  • $7.00M for the Radio Program Fund.

Public broadcasting stations are funded by a combination of private donations from listeners and viewers, foundations and corporations. Funding for public television comes in roughly equal parts from government (at all levels) and the private sector.[10]

Stations that receive CPB funds must meet certain requirements,[11] such as the maintenance or provision of open meetings, open financial records, a community advisory board, equal employment opportunity, and lists of donors and political activities.

Political compositionEdit

The CPB is governed by a nine-member board of directors selected by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate; they serve six-year terms. As of May 2015, the board was composed of four Republicans and four Democrats.[12][needs update] Under the terms of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the President cannot appoint persons of the same political party to more than five of the nine CPB board seats.[13] In 2004 and 2005, people from the PBS and NPR complained that the CPB was starting to push a conservative agenda.[14][15] Board members replied that they were merely seeking balance. Polls of the PBS and NPR audiences in 2002 and 2003 indicated that few felt that the groups' news reports contained bias, and those who saw a slant were split as to which side they believed the reports favored.[citation needed]

The charge of a conservative agenda came to a head in 2005. Kenneth Tomlinson, chair of the CPB board from September 2003 until September 2005, angered PBS and NPR supporters by unilaterally commissioning a conservative colleague to conduct a study of alleged bias in the PBS show NOW with Bill Moyers, and by appointing two conservatives as CPB Ombudsmen.[16] On November 3, 2005, Tomlinson resigned from the board, prompted by a report of his tenure by the CPB Inspector General, Kenneth Konz, requested by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The report was made public on November 15. It states:

We found evidence that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) former Chairman violated statutory provisions and the Director’s Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB over creating the show. Our review also found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria [sic] used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices.[17]

Objectivity and balance requirementsEdit

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires the CPB to operate with a "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature".[13] It also requires it to regularly review national programming for objectivity and balance, and to report on "its efforts to address concerns about objectivity and balance".

See alsoEdit


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