“We need broadcasting that treats us as citizens, not simply as consumers. We need a strong civil society where the connection between different people and groups is firm and vibrant, not brittle and divided. We need to defend against weaknesses within and enemies without, using the tools of civil society and hard power. We don’t have to pick one over the other.” Stanley McChrystal, retired Army general. New York Times editorial, 4/5/17
Congress is currently considering a budget proposal that would eliminate federal grant funding for local public radio and TV stations. We’ve gathered some information so you can develop an informed opinion on the issue as it relates to Nevada Public Radio. Please let your Representatives know where you stand on this issue and join the national advocacy effort at http://protectmypublicmedia.org
•The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds local stations only when they meet rigorous standards for community service each year1. Nevada Public Radio, KCEP-FM and Vegas PBS meet those standards in Southern Nevada, KUNR Reno and KNPB TV in Northern Nevada. CPB funding incentivizes local stations to deliver meaningful programming and services which in turn attract local investment from individuals and businesses.
In 2003, Nevada Public Radio was awarded additional seed money from the CPB to establish KNPR’s State of Nevada when our community was growing rapidly. NVPR was among select stations in affected communities to cover the foreclosure crisis in 2010. We also earned a place in the Fronteras multi-station reporting project in 2012. Those investments represent vital investments to expand our capacity to report on issues closest to home as other media outlets downsized their local news operations.
•More than half of all Americans use public media every month. 250,0002 Nevadans choose Nevada Public Radio’s programming every month; nearly 50,000 of those are outside of the metro Las Vegas area. Hundreds of thousands of page views and hours of online audio listening can be added to that total. CPB funds have helped Nevada Public Radio build and maintain a rural network of transmitters and upgrade to digital delivery.
Nevada Public Radio’s network of repeater stations cover 93% of the state’s population, providing the backbone of the emergency broadcast network, originating all Emergency System Alert notifications for cable and TV stations. “EAS” is a robust civil emergency service that operates when cell phone service is down. It saves lives.
•Nevada Public Radio is a key “connector” for area civic, charitable and cultural organizations. Through editorial and sponsorships, and our on-air, online and publishing media products, we provide the most effective media to reach audiences with event information, general awareness and fundraising needs. UNLV, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber, Caesars Foundation, Three Square and The Smith Center rely on Nevada Public Radio to elevate community awareness of their activities and report demonstrable impact for our partnerships.
We are certain that many local cultural, civic or human service organizations with which you are personally aligned directly benefit from our public media services in ways beyond the $500,000 of in-kind on-air messaging we designate annually. A community with rigorous journalistic attention to the issues that matter most to this region will be inspired to magnify the impact of private philanthropy and engage with civic life. We know that audiences will act on what they hear, because they already do: with their votes, their consumer choices, their charitable donations and their advocacy.
Our location on the campus of the College of Southern Nevada generates $16 million in awareness for that institution annually.3
•Public broadcasting strengthens our democracy. Nevada Public Radio’s investment of close to $4 million since 2003 in local public affairs programming has created a true “town hall of the air” that gives voice to the issues impacting our region. Citizens connect with decision-makers on the vital questions of public policy, employment, healthcare, education, the environment and our cultural life. 45% of our total weekly audience listens to KNPR’s State of Nevada, which directly addresses the issues that matter most to citizens, with 40,000 unique online visitors who also stream 200,000 hours online. Public Broadcasting (KNPR and Vegas PBS) provides the only venues where elected officials can speak at length, in civil dialogue with their constituents.
Nationwide, 156 of the 264 NPR member stations have annual budgets less than $2 million. For them, CPB funding represents a higher percentage of their operating budgets than for NVPR, so any loss of CPB support to these stations located in more rural areas would be devastating to their community service and news reporting capacity. In turn, the interconnected journalism of NPR would unravel with diminishing coverage of issues important to Nevadans: Western land use, water, mining and agriculture.
•Public broadcasting is one of the most effective public/private partnerships in America. Annual federal funding amounts to only $1.35 per American and is leveraged by local stations to raise six times that amount from other sources. For NVPR that number is 12X. In FY2018-19, Nevada Public Radio will raise nearly $7 million directly from the communities we serve. Direct corporate support represents more than $2.5 million reinvested here in Southern Nevada. We have 50 permanent staff positions that create knowledge /technical based employment in our region.
Nevada Public Radio is an asset that empowers people to be engaged with their community. Annual CPB (federal) funding of approximately $450,000 is an investment that provides stability for Nevada Public Radio to deliver its public service mission and is a tremendous value for the people of the state of Nevada.
Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting represents 0.01% of the Federal budget. Please let your Representatives know where you stand on this issue and join the national advocacy effort at http://protectmypublicmedia.org
2 Nielsen radio ratings and Desert Companion readership
3 USAA report on the value of NVPR to CSN 2010