Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about President Trump’s plan to cut funding for Public Broadcasting. The article illustrates the fact that in some cases, executives of nonprofit organizations make salaries that don’t sound as if they are appropriate for an organization that is nonprofit.
The article reminds us of two conflicting statements made by NPR about their budget:
On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB [the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting] and federal agencies and departments.
…Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public. Its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR. . . Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism—especially local journalism—and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities.
Both of those statements cannot be true. I have no idea which one is.
The article further reports:
According to tax filings — the most recent of which covers 2014 — then-president and CEO Melvin Ming was paid more than $586,000 in salary and benefits in the nine months before retiring, which included a $37,500 bonus and $18,700 in benefits. The year before that, Ming cleared $672,391 in salary, bonuses and benefits.
The average compensation for the other 10 top officials at Sesame Workshop in 2014 was a very handsome $382,135 — which is about six times the median household income in the U.S.
Big Bird is big business. The article states:
Last year, Sesame Workshop had $121.6 million in revenues. Of that, $49.6 million came in distribution fees and royalties and $36.6 million in licensing of toys, games, clothing, food and such. In 2014, only 4% of its revenue came from government grants.
I suspect there are other programs on Public Broadcasting that would do quite well if they chose to market items related to their television shows. I truly think it is time to give the free market the chance to work its magic in the area of Public Broadcasting.