NPR: We Are Not 'Tax-Payer Funded'

NPR responds to Doug Heye's blog post.

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The entire premise of [Doug Heye's blog post, "Tax Payer Funded NPR Brings Rock Stars to Swanky Washington Party"] is simply misinformed.

Our guests are paying their own way. And our tables were made possible by a generous donor to NPR who felt it was important for NPR to have a visible presence at this major event.

NPR is also not “tax-payer funded,” despite the rhetoric and misinformation perpetuated by some.

First, NPR receives no direct appropriation from the federal government. Less than 2 percent of our annual operating budget (approximately $2 million in a budget of $160 million) comes from competitive grants sought from federally-funded organizations, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Those grant funds aren’t appropriated to NPR by Congress, nor are they used to support NPR’s general operations. NPR must apply and compete for the grants, and use the funds only for the specific project covered by each grant.

Federal funding from the CPB goes directly to local stations to serve local communities, NOT to NPR. Stations on average receive approximately 10 percent of their budgets from grants from the CPB.

When Heye writes that he’s “seen little from NPR” in the past few months, he must have missed the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the tsunami in Japan, the one year anniversary of the deadly explosion at Upper Big Branch mine, the battle for soldiers with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to get adequate treatment—and the countless other events and stories NPR alone manages to extensively cover day in and day out. It’s this work that was recognized for several Peabody Awards earlier this month. And that a growing audience of 27 million tunes to each week.

Anna Christopher


Director, Media Relations, NPR

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