I don’t want to be unfair. NPR is a big organization, and a big organization, especially if it is headed by someone with valuable know-how and an even more valuable Rolodex should pay its top person accordingly.
But then there is this:
PBS President Paula Kerger even recorded a personal television appeal that told viewers exactly how to contact members of Congress in order to “let your representative know how you feel about the elimination of funding for public broadcasting.” But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 in annual compensation—as reported on the 990 tax forms all nonprofits are required to file—surely it can operate without tax dollars.
Geez, Louise, whatever happened to “at some point you’ve made enough money,” and $250,000 a year being considered kind of “rich”?
Despite how accessible media has become to Americans over the years, funding for CPB has grown considerably. In 2001, the federal government appropriated $340 million for CPB. Last year it got $420 million. As Congress considers ways to close the $14 trillion deficit, cutting funding for the CPB has even been proposed by President Obama’s bipartisan deficit reduction commission. Instead, Mr. Obama wants to increase CPB’s funding to $451 million in his latest budget.
Meanwhile, highly successful, brand-name public programs like Sesame Street make millions on their own. “Sesame Street,” for example, made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales from 2003-2006. Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. With earnings like that, Big Bird doesn’t need the taxpayers to help him compete against the Nickleodeon cable channel’s Dora the Explorer.
Something to that. Shouldn’t programs produced with public moneys turn over all of their profits to the public coffers to start with, or am I being naive? Seems to me that after licensing and royalty fees are paid, whatever profit Sesame Street makes from sales of related products should be turned over to the government, or — if that would be a bad business move — they should go private.
And it also seems to me that anyone working for a publicly-funded entity should perhaps make a bit less than $600K for radio or 900K for a tv show.
I grant you, those are not private-sector salaries. But when the nation is in a deep recession, where there are no jobs, when the budgets are busted, when new job offers are down 30%…it just seems to me the government (public) funded salaries should fall more in line with what President Obama said was “enough” money.