Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative

CPB is funding a multi-million dollar Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative, with investments designed to support ongoing programming and provide services to stations and their communities during these difficult times.

Within the Initiative, CPB is supporting public broadcasting radio and television stations through three new grant programs that are designed to help stations better serve and support their communities during the economic crisis. All public radio and television stations are eligible to receive funding through at least one of these grants, however CPB does not intend to award multiple grants to any single station.

The three programs are: Economy Response Grants, Facing the Mortgage Crisis Grants, and Engaging Communities on the Economy Grants. These three programs encourage partnerships with local community partners, other public broadcasting stations, and national organizations. As has been proven throughout the years, stations can ensure their own long-term relevance and sustainability by focusing outwardly on their communities and on issues most important to local citizens. These grants are designed to help in those efforts.

Economy Response Grant

The Economy Response Grant Program replaces the Local Service Initiative as a matching grant program for radio and or television projects. The Economy Response Grant Program seeks to connect communities to crisis resources through a network of trusted community partners and, at the same time, raise awareness of the impact the crisis is having on the community itself. The core deliverables for this project – on-air content, new media and outreach materials, and evidence of significant community partnerships and community involvement – will be created in response to the needs of each community. CPB intends to fund matching grants of up to $100,000 for each qualifying station, with an anticipated total investment of $1 million in the project.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis

Facing the Mortgage Crisis grants are being offered to select radio and television stations in 32 markets where the foreclosure rates are the highest in the nation. Building on models of community engagement and mobilization, the grants are designed to maximize the ability of local public broadcasting stations to connect residents to foreclosure prevention and financial resources via a network of trusted community partners. The initiative also encourages stations to use CPB’s Public Awareness Initiative/My Source tools to frame a story of local impact. CPB intends to invest a total of $1.6 million for the Facing the Mortgage Crisis grants ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 per market.

Engaging Communities on the Economy

The Engaging Communities on the Economy Grants are designed to help stations convene civic leaders, community partners and citizens in a dialogue – on-air, on-line or in-person – around regional and local economic issues. The grants may also be used to plan or conduct collaborative projects in response to identified community needs connected to the financial crisis (e.g., joblessness, bankruptcy, credit card debt). CPB expects to award 20 to 40 grants in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

Additional Investments

The Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative also includes significant support for nationally- and locally-produced economy-related content for television, radio, and online. The investments include (but are not limited to) the following programs:

Public Media Innovation Fund

The next two rounds of Public Media Innovation Grants will be focused on economic issues, with an emphasis on enhancing financial literacy. In Round Four, CPB will invest $200,000 ($5,000 to $50,000 per project) in new media educational tools, applications and content designed to help students (of all ages), parents and teachers understand and cope with the current economic crisis. The proposed projects must include a broadcast component and should be able to be replicated by other stations.

Digital Collaboration on the Economic Crisis

CPB will be investing $2.5 million in the Digital Collaboration on the Economic Crisis with the aim of leveraging our system’s unique local-national structure and editorial know-how to establish public media as an essential resource for content and services around the economic crisis. The partners in this collaboration, including NPR, PBS, The NewsHour, PRX, The World (PRI), Marketplace (APM), Youth Radio, Capitol News Connection, Public Interactive and KQED, will provide comprehensive, thoughtful coverage of the American economy and its global linkages across multiple platforms. Content, including audio, video, blogs, podcasts, widgets and more will be available to all stations. Stations will play an essential role in customizing and delivering this content as well as in engaging their communities utilizing these resources.

Enhancing Core National Programming Coverage on the Economy

CPB is focusing a number of our radio and television programming grants, totaling over $2.5 million, on content that enhances coverage on local, national and global economic issues. We are providing targeted economic coverage grants to NPR, Marketplace, The World, Capitol News Connection, Frontline, and WNET’s “Worldfocus.”

Sesame Street: Coping with Economic Insecurity

This innovative, multi-platform project seeks to help families with young children deal with the particular stresses they face during difficult economic times. CPB’s investment will leverage Sesame Workshop’s distinguished history of success in helping families deal with difficult issues, including their most recent work helping military families deal with issues related to multiple deployments and homecomings.

About CPB

CPB promotes the growth and development of public media in communities throughout America.

Programs & Projects

CPB awards grants to stations and independent producers to create programs and services.