69 House Members Join Public Broadcasting Caucus

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Public Broadcasters Thank Members at First Caucus Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 3, 2001) - Public broadcasters have an important new ally on Capitol Hill. Nearly 70 Members of the House of Representatives have joined the Public Broadcasting Caucus, chaired by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Amo Houghton (R-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Connie Morella (R-MD) and Zach Wamp (R-TN). The caucus is designed to ensure that the American people continue to benefit from the noncommercial, educational, locally managed programs and services provided by public television and radio stations and programmers.

The presidents of the four national public broadcasting organizations and dozens of local station general managers from around the country gathered at the Rayburn House Office Building today to express their appreciation to the members of the caucus. The caucus will educate House members on issues of importance to public television and radio, and provide a vehicle to support public broadcasting's legislative and regulatory initiatives. Puppet characters from the PBS KIDS® Ready to Learn series, Between the Lions, joined Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host, in a humorous program thanking Chairmen Blumenauer and Wamp and the other members of the caucus for their leadership on behalf of public broadcasting.

"Public Broadcasting has always enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in Congress," said Robert T. Coonrod, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), "and this new group will be a tremendous asset in furthering that support for our mission of providing valuable education services to the American people."

National Public Radio president and CEO Kevin Klose added, "Our 600 public radio stations and their millions of listeners throughout the country appreciate the caucus' support and anticipate that it will serve as an effective forum for discussion of the complex policy issues facing public radio."

Members of the caucus pledge to support:

  • A strong and financially sound noncommercial, universal, educational broadcasting service for the American people;
  • Policies that ensure the continued growth and vitality of public broadcasting programs and services;
  • A high level of financial support for public broadcasting's transition to digital production and transmission; and
  • Strategies and policies that allow the public broadcasting community to take full advantage of new technologies to produce and deliver quality educational, cultural and informational programs and services.

"PBS looks forward to working with the caucus to strengthen the unique and important role that public television plays in providing nonviolent and educational programs and services to America's children and their families," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service.

The newly named president and CEO of the Association of America's Public Television Stations (APTS), John Lawson, added, "We thank the members of the caucus for coming together at this crucial time, when public television stations are gearing up for a transition to digital television that will multiply their ability to provide valuable learning opportunities to their communities."

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops public radio, television and online services for the American people. A grant-making organization that is the largest source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production, CPB also funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations.

NPR is a private nonprofit corporation that produces and distributes award-winning programming such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Performance Today and Car Talk, in partnership with more than 600 member stations. NPR member stations are independent entities, licensed to a variety of nonprofit organizations, local communities, colleges, universities and other institutions.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.

APTS advocates for federal funding for the Corporation for Public broadcasting's annual appropriation, the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) at the Department of Commerce and for programs relevant to public television at the Department of Education and other federal agencies.

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