CPB Media Room

Public Radio, Public Television Give Americans Valuable Return on Tax Dollars, Roper Poll Shows

  • July 24, 1997

Public radio and public television rank second and third in new poll

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 24, 1997 -- The American people say, that among 20 services, public radio and public television are the second and third best values in return for tax dollars spent, up from third and fourth places two years ago, according to a 1997 Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc. report released today by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Only national defense ranks higher.

In this year's poll, 65 percent of interviewees believe they receive "excellent" or "good" value from public radio, a 12 percent increase from 1995, the last time the question was asked. Public television was rated "excellent" or "good" by 63 percent of the respondents, a 6 percent increase from two years ago. In the 1995 poll, public TV was ranked third, and public radio was ranked fourth, following national defense, and police and law enforcement, which were ranked first and second respectively.

The findings result from nearly 2,000 in-home interviews, conducted by respected public opinion polling firm, Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc. in March of this year. Participants were asked to rate the value they receive for each of 20 services the federal government provides using tax dollars.

Further, CPB commissioned Roper to ask survey participants to rank the value they place on access to a whole year of public television and radio programming, taking into account that in 1997 federal support for public television and public radio stations costs a little less than one dollar per American. Ninety percent of those polled said public broadcasting is worth at least a dollar. Within that 90 percent, 72 percent said it is worth more than a dollar.

Every year CPB funds more than 350 public television and nearly 700 public radio stations. Almost one-fourth of CPB funding goes to support new programming.

In the 1995-96 season, more than 96 million people watched public television each week, which is nearly 60 percent of U.S. television households. The number of weekly listeners to public radio reached almost 20 million in 1996. Public radio and television is available to 91 and 99 percent of American homes respectively.

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industry's largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grantmaking organization, funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

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

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