Mr. YOUNG of Alaska. Mr. Speaker, I understand that these are tough budget times and we have to make a lot of cuts if we're going to balance the budget. However, I also believe that we have to make every possible effort to retain adequate levels of funding for public broadcasting.
This March, I signed letters to two Appropriations Subcommittees in an attempt to protect funding for public broadcasting. For decades, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has aired educational programs and helped our children to learn to read, to understand basic math, and to engage in the study of science. It would be a shame to deny the next generation beneficial programs like Reading Rainbow, Sesame Street, and Bill Nye the Science Guy because of budget problems.
Public broadcasting is more than education though. Even as newspapers are sputtering, trying to compete with the internet, 38 million people still listen to National Public Radio (NPR) every week. In Alaska, many communities rely on public broadcasting. The majority of our state can be described as remote and many Alaskans get their news exclusively from a single radio or television station. Fourteen stations, nearly half of those in Alaska, are critically dependent on federal funding and would likely close their doors if they lost that money. This would effectively strand numerous Alaskan communities, leaving them cut off from any form of news or even emergency communications.
I support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, and the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program. Funding these programs is not just good for the country, it is vital.