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PBS President/CEO Paula Kerger Gives Public Broadcasting Budget Update and Explains Its Unique Streaming Setup

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Michael Schneider Variety Editor at Large It’s a semi-annual tradition during the PBS executive session at the Television Critics Assn.: Asking president/CEO Paula Kerger about the state of funding for the public broadcaster.

And so it went on Monday, during the public broadcaster’s portion of the winter 2024 press tour — and despite the ongoing gridlock in Washington, Kerger said things, at least for now, are going “OK.” “We are advanced funded, and that we always have been,” Kerger told reporters. “And the idea behind it is that you need to know that when you finish a project, you’re going to actually have the funds for it.

So we we actually know what our funding is right now. Now, that’s not to say someone can come in and try to rescind some of the funding, and that happened to us some years back.” Some years, the political climate is bleak enough that there’s a real threat to government appropriation — most of which, she reminds everyone, goes to local TV stations to cover operational costs, with very little going to programming. “But right now, where our funding sits in Congress is that if it just moves forward and continuing resolution, we will be OK,” she said. “Now, I say that with the deep recognition that I never take the federal appropriation for granted and I don’t think any of our stations do.

These are difficult times. There are many calls on federal funds. And I believe that it is up to us to demonstrate the importance of the work we do, the content that we provide, the presence that we have in communities. “Remember the federal appropriation largely goes to fund our stations and their operations.

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