By JEFFREY BRUNER (Gannett)
Question: How much taxpayer money goes to subsidize public broadcasting in America?
Answer: Big Bird has been in the news, so let's look at the numbers.
RELATED | Romney's 'Big Bird' Comment Stirs Social Media
The federal government spent $430 million in 2011 to support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Some of this money goes to the Public Broadcasting System (television), some goes to National Public Radio and some goes to individual programs.
Federal funding is 15 percent of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's budget. PBS chief executive Paula Kerger says, however, that federal money can make up 40 or 50 percent of the budget for rural stations, and many will go off the air without federal support.
(Jeffrey Bruner is the wire chief for the Gannett National Wire Desk in Des Moines.)