Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Industry Television, Radio
Founded November 7, 1967 (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 (CPB) is an American non-profit corporation created by an act of the United States Congress and funded by the United States federal government to promote and help support public broadcasting.[1]

CPB’s mission is to ensure universal access to non-commercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services. It does so by distributing more than 70% of its funding to more than 1,400 locally owned public radio and television stations.[2]


The CPB 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 then existing National Educational Television network.

In March 27, 1968, CPB registers as a nonprofit corporation in the District of Columbia.[3]

In 1969, the CPB talked to private groups to start the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). [4]

In February 26, 1970, the CPB formed National Public Radio (NPR), a radio network consisting of public stations. Unlike PBS, NPR produces as well as distributes programming. [3]

In May 31, 2002, CPB, through a first round of funding from a special appropriation, helped public television stations making the transition (completed by 2009) to digital broadcasting.[3]

Funding of and by the corporation

The CPB's annual budget is composed almost entirely of an annual appropriation from Congress plus interest on those funds. Ninety-five percent (95%) of CPB's appropriation goes directly to content development, community services, and other local station and system needs.[5]

For fiscal year 2014, its appropriation was US$445.5 million, including $.5M in interest earned. The distribution of these funds was as follows:[6]

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. [7]

Stations that receive CPB funds must meet certain requirements,[8] 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 composition of the CPB Board

The CPB is governed by a board of directors consisting of nine members. They are selected by the President of the United States, confirmed by the Senate, and serve six-year terms. As of May 2015, the board was composed of four Republicans and four Democrats.[9] According to 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. <> In 2004 and 2005, people from the PBS and NPR complained that the CPB was starting to push a conservative agenda.[10][11] 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 that saw a slant were split as to which side they believed the reports favored.

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.[12] 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.[13]

Objectivity and balance requirements

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".[14] 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 also


  1. 47 U.S.C. § 396
  2. "CPB Financial Information" (web). Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  3. 1 2 3 "PBS Timeline". PBS. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  4. "Thematic Window: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting". PBS. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  5. "CPB Financial Information" (web). Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  6. Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Budget, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, accessed September 24, 2014
  8. Certification Requirements for Station Grants Recipients
  9. Board of Directors of the CPB
  10. NPR's On the Media interview with Tomlinson, May 6, 2005 Archived May 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. NPR's On the Media follow-up, July 15, 2005 Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "CPB Memos Indicate Level of Monitoring". 30 June 2005. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  13. Corporation For Public Broadcasting, Office of Inspector General: Review of Alleged Actions Violating The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as Amended, Report No. EPB503-602, November 2006, page i
  14. "The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, as amended". Retrieved October 13, 2012.
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