Future of Public Media

Free Press is working to create policies that expand funding for public media and make it more digital and diverse. 

Surveys show that most Americans consider public broadcasting more trustworthy and educational than commercial media. Yet every year public media must face congressional scrutiny and endure budget cuts and threats to end all funding. Instead of being free to focus on delivering relevant news and information, public broadcasters are forced to fight for their survival. It’s time to rethink how Congress funds public media and build a stronger firewall against political meddling.

New technologies are sparking a revolution in media making and present a unique opportunity to reimagine and reinvigorate public media for the digital age. We are working to help create strong partnerships between public broadcasters and the communities they serve. By including more voices and perspectives, public media can heighten its cultural and social relevance and expand its audience base.

Blog Posts

  • The New Haven Independent Ventures into New Territory

    December 10, 2013
    Taking its hyperlocal mission to heart, the New Haven Independent is trying to connect the worlds of nonprofit journalism and LPFM radio.
  • Good Luck Trying to Watch Al Jazeera America

    August 22, 2013
    Much excitement and fanfare heralded the debut of Al Jazeera America, but you may want to pause before you celebrate the arrival of this new journalistic venture.
  • All for One and One for All

    May 8, 2013
    Imagine for a moment if 50 percent of America’s media was noncommercial. How would that change whose stories got told and which issues got debated? How would it shape access to information or the role of arts and education in our homes and communities?
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Press Releases

  • Romney’s Threats to Public Media Ignore Popular Will

    August 15, 2012

    WASHINGTON – In an interview published Wednesday in Fortune, presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that he would eliminate funding for public broadcasting if elected.

  • New Report: Cutting Public Media Funding 'Risks the Collapse of the System'

    June 21, 2012

    WASHINGTON — An independent analysis of public media funding requested by Congress has found that "the loss of federal support for public broadcasting risks the collapse of the system.” The public media newspaper Current first reported the study’s findings.

  • New Study Finds Investment in Public Media Around the World Leads to Better News

    February 17, 2011

    NEW YORK – Even as public media are under attack on Capitol Hill, a new report shows how increasing, not cutting, federal funding can promote quality, independent journalism. The study, Public Media and Political Independence: Lessons for the Future of Journalism from Around the World, analyzes public media systems in 14 democratic countries, from Australia to Finland and France to Japan.

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  • Greater Than the Sum: Creating Collaborative and Connected Public Media in America

    This paper offers a framework and policy recommendations for expanding both the funding and the definition of public media in the United States. We propose rethinking public media as an inclusive and holistic noncommercial media sector that builds new connections and commands new forms of support across all forms of public service media. By embracing digital media — and the changes that come with a shift from one-way broadcast communication to many-to-many digital communication — we can create a more diverse media system that brings in new participants and stakeholders.

    June 28, 2012
  • On the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media

    Since 2008, budget battles at the state level have eroded funding for public broadcasters around the country. Free Press and SaveTheNews.org have completed the first inventory of state funding cuts and examined the impact these cuts have had on local stations.

    Download the full report: On the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media.

    November 12, 2011
  • Free Press Future of Media Comments

    Comments submitted to the FCC by Free Press, the Media Access Project and the New America Foundation for the agency's inquiry on "Future of Media & Information Needs of Communities in a Digital Age." Along with their comments, the groups also filed a petition with over 9,000 signatures asking the FCC to put the public interest first in any new policy decisions that emerge from this proceeding.

    May 10, 2010
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Learn More

  • Public Media

    We can have an under-funded public media system that is vulnerable to constantly changing political winds, or we can aspire to a public media system that makes use of all technologies available to inspire, educate and inform.
  • Low Power FM Radio

    Low Power FM radio stations are community-based nonprofit outlets that broadcast to neighborhoods and small towns throughout the country.

    LPFM stations have a limited broadcast range of just a few miles, but their impact on communities can be immense. These noncommercial stations inject vibrancy into a radio dial that has suffered from years of media consolidation.

    LPFM stations offer a platform for content and viewpoints that traditional media overlook. These stations foster community identity and serve as hubs for vital safety information during local emergencies.

  • Attacks on Public Media

    Every year, for almost a decade, Americans have ranked public television as the institution they trust most. And more than 70 percent of Americans see funding for public television as money “well spent.” Exactly how much do Americans spend to support this resource? Pocket change: The United States spends less than$1.50 per person on public broadcasting — 20 times less than Germany and a whopping 70 times less than Denmark.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good