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Telecommunications: Issues Related to the Structure and Funding of Public Television

GAO-07-150 Published: Jan 19, 2007. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 2007.
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How to fund public television has been a concern since the first noncommercial educational station went on the air in 1953. The use of federal funds to help support public television has been a particular point of discussion and debate. This report reviews (1) the organizational structure of public television, (2) the programming and other services that public television provides, (3) the current funding sources for public television, (4) the extent to which public television stations are increasing their nonfederal funding sources and developing new sources of nonfederal support, and (5) the extent to which public television benefits financially from business ventures associated with programming and how this compares with commercial broadcasters. GAO reviewed revenue, membership, and programming data for all public television licensees. GAO also interviewed officials from 54 of public television's 173 licensees, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service, federal agencies, and producers of commercial and public television programming

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BroadcastingDigital televisionEducational televisionFederal fundsFinancial managementLicensesLocally administered programsNonprofit organizationsPublic televisionTelevisionTelevision broadcasting