09/15/2005: Who Pays for What…
A Q&A from Garrison Keillor’s web page A Prairie Home Companion:
I have listened to and enjoyed Prairie Home Companion for several years. One quick question that one of my co-workers asked is: The tax payers support public radio with their monetary contributions throughout the year. Why then can you make political statements that definitely lean heavily in favor of the Democrats? I am not bothered by this mainly because I too am a Democrat. My co-worker on the other hand is a Republican. Give me your response!
Marilyn, public radio is not supported by taxpayers, as a rule, but by corporate underwriting, the contributions of listeners, and by foundation support. NPR is not government-owned; it is a private, not-for-profit corporation funded primarily by program fees paid by public radio stations and a tiny sliver (about 2%) comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which administers money allocated by Congress for public broadcasting. Some public radio stations get up to 15 percent of their budgets from the CPB, a few stations in rural areas may get more, big-city stations get less. PHC doesn't get any taxpayer money directly. Our income comes from underwriting, program fees, ticket sales, product sales, and so forth, and we've been in the black for most of our history. As for political satire on PHC, it's pretty much an established rule in American life that when you are in power, you are the object of satire. This has been true since the Golden Age of Athens. We don't do much political anything on PHC because I am depressed about the state of the country so I'd rather talk about the weather, my daughter, fishing, Lutheran pastors, tomatoes, anything but politics. Your co-worker is barking up the wrong tree.
-- Garrison Keillor
Karen on 09.15.05 @ 08:14 AM CST