National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller says funding from the taxpayers through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is only a tiny fraction of NPR’s budget.

Vivian Schiller, CEO of National Public Radio

By Brian Fitzpatrick |

“We do apply for competitive grants from the likes of the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. As a result, some money from CPB does come to us when we win grants. Depending on the year, it represents just 1 to 3 percent of our total budget,” she’s said.

NPR apologist Norah O’Donnell also tossed out the 1 percent to 3 percent range, and AP reporter Brett Zongker reported, “Federal grants provide less than 2 percent – or $3.3 million – of NPR’s $166 million annual budget.”

But almost one-quarter – 23 percent – of the money NPR gets comes from the taxpayers, meaning congressional chatter about defunding NPR over the Juan Williams firing could pose a serious threat to the organization.

Mark Browning, at The American Thinker, calculated NPR’s taxpayer subsidy numbers based on figures publicly available on NPR’s own website.

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Browning estimates that NPR’s 900 member stations receive approximately 41 percent of their funding directly or indirectly from taxpayers, primarily through tax deductions, grants from government-funded universities, and direct grants by federal, state and local governments.

The member stations are responsible for nearly half of NPR’s total annual revenues, according to NPR. Because roughly 40 percent of the member stations’ revenues come indirectly or directly from taxpayers, Browning concludes that at least 20 percent of NPR’s total budget comes from taxpayers. In addition, 10 percent of NPR’s budget comes from “Grants and Contributions.” Browning estimates conservatively that one third of this category, or 3 percent of the total, comes from taxes.

“This brings our total of taxpayer support for the entire NPR budget to around 23 percent,” writes Browning.

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