PBS Budget to Grow, Despite Federal Cuts
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Despite federal funding cuts, PBS plans to increase its overall budget for the upcoming year by $52 million, the largest jump in its history, officials said Sunday.
``Ours is a policy of growth, not retrenchment,″ said Ervin S. Duggan, president of Public Broadcasting Service.
PBS has been actively seeking new sources of private revenue in recent years that are helping to make that growth possible.
The service’s budget will expand from about $172 million this year to $224 million for the fiscal year 1997.
According to Kathy Quattrone, chief programming executive of PBS, the service also aims to increase its programming budget by 50 percent in four years _ from the current $114 million to $165 million by 2000.
``We were worried, but the federal funding cut for PBS turned out to be relatively small,″ Quattrone said. ``It wasn’t enough to make a difference in our overall industry base.″
The public broadcasting industry receives about 14 percent of its total income from federal funding. The 1996 budget of $276 million is 13.4 percent less than what Congress had originally promised, a result of deficit-cutting efforts.
Aggressive recruitment of corporate sponsors, new funding partnerships with Reader’s Digest and others, and creative moneymaking ventures like PBS stores are helping bridge the gap caused by federal cuts.
Technology, Quattrone said, is bringing other opportunities.
``As distribution venues have expanded, there are new ways to get our content to people, whether it’s online or CD-Roms,″ she said. ``We have to be entrepreneurial.″
Duggan and Quattrone made their comments in a session with the Television Critics Association and in interviews.