CPB Media Room

CPB Announces Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative

  • For Immediate Release on March 25, 2009

Washington, D.C. -- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today announced The Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative, a multi-million dollar package of investments designed to assist public broadcasting stations - radio and television - with their service to their communities.

"Public service media has a long and distinguished record as a trusted source of information and reliable service to communities throughout our nation," said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. "Public radio and public television stations are working every day to maintain critical services while responding to increased community need during this time of economic crisis. This initiative is not only designed to assist stations in focusing on their communities and on the issues of greatest import to the residents of those communities, but reflects CPB's determination that our limited resources be directed to achieve maximum public broadcasting system benefit."

The Public Service Media Economic Initiative is comprised of the following programs and station-based projects, and will be rolled out in stages:

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 $2.3 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 aiding military families cope with issues associated with multiple deployments and homecomings.

Public Media Innovation Fund (Rounds Four & Five). 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. Round Four is now open and accepting applications.

Facing the Mortgage Crisis Grants. 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 $1.59 million for the Facing the Mortgage Crisis Grants ranging from $40,000 to $80,000 per market.

Economy Response Grant Program. 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.

Engaging Communities on the Economy Grants. 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.

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.

About CPB

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

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