U.S. public high on pubcasting

Starch poll sees positive marks across all age groups

WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans believe they get some of the best bang out of their taxpaying buck from public television and radio, a poll released Monday showed.

The love affair with public broadcasting arched across all age groups, from the G.I. generation to Generation X.

Poll, conducted by the respected Roper Starch Worldwide report, concluded that Americans count public TV and radio among the five best deals when it comes to taxes, right alongside military spending, medical research, law enforcement and highways.

About 60% of those polled rated public TV as “excellent” or “good,” while 58% of the 2,000 citizens interviewed gave public radio the same high marks.

“This confirms America’s appreciation of public broadcasting,” said a Corp. for Public Broadcasting spokesman.

Public television and military spending tied for first place among those born between 1930 and 1945. Likewise for Baby Boomers.

Among Generation Xers, public radio took second place after military spending, which tied with medical research for first place. Public TV and space funding tied for fourth among this age group.

Budget hearings near

Roper poll findings come at a good time for public broadcasters, who will soon travel to Capitol Hill for annual budget hearings. Some are worried that funding might be cut by the new Republican administration.

Public broadcasting is funded through a combination of public dollars, grants and individual contributions.

Federal money — about $340 million this fiscal year — accounts for roughly 15% of public TV and radio budgets.

According to the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, more than 90 million people watch public TV each week, while more than 22 million people tune in to public radio.