Conservatives are turning the Juan Williams firing into a political football and calling for the defunding of NPR. Republican House Whip Eric Cantor now says that he "will include termination of federal funding for NPR as an option in the YouCut program so that Americans can let it be known whether they want their dollars going to that organization." Update: Sen. Jim DeMint has introduced legislation to defund NPR, as well.
Would NPR die without government funding? What would a termination of federal funding for NPR look like? Let's peek at the finances (see graph above).
NPR does not receive any direct federal funding. But it does receive indirect funding from two important sources: (1) public radio stations and (2) public grants.
First, NPR receives the majority of funding from program fees and station dues paid by member stations that broadcast its shows. Those public radio stations receive about 10 percent of their funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a non-profit corp with receives some government money and spends $90 million a year on public radio stations. While that $90 million does not directly fund NPR, it provides about 10 percent of funding for public radio stations that pay NPR for its programming.