State Government Coverage 2.0

New applications are no longer being accepted. Check this page for updates about this initiative.


Open to CSG-qualified TV and Radio Stations.


January 31, 2024

Request for Proposals

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is accepting proposals to increase and deepen public media’s news and public affairs coverage of state government and policies and their impact on state residents. This is a second call for state government coverage proposals, following an initial round of $2.25 million in grants that was announced in September 2023.

Already, public media stations in all 50 states provide original state government reporting at least weekly when their legislatures are in session, and stations in 31 states have increased this coverage to fill the void left by the decline of local newspapers, according to a CPB-commissioned survey published in June 2022. The survey also found that public media stations in 18 states provide the only state government-focused public affairs broadcast program in their state. In a dozen states, public media stations provide a dedicated channel for live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of state legislative proceedings. The Survey, involving 175 public radio and television stations, was a first step in CPB’s broader strategy to address urgent civic information needs given the increasing influence of misinformation and disinformation in civil discourse. The Survey identified opportunities to grow State Government Coverage, including increased beat reporting, accountability journalism, digital innovation, and public affairs formats that reach new audiences.

Applications for this Request for Proposals will be accepted from public media stations and Station collaborations that seek to build state government coverage capacity and reach. The goals of the RFP are to:

1. Increase the number of journalists spending 75% or more of their time producing State Government Coverage, with priority given to states where there currently is no Dedicated State Government Journalist;

2. Increase the number of statewide collaborations among public media stations to produce State Government Coverage;

3. Increase the number of stations providing State Government Coverage throughout the year, not just when state legislatures are in session;

4. Strengthen State Government Coverage through investigative reporting;

5. Produce innovative State Government Coverage that reaches and serves digital audiences, which could include enhanced video/visuals coverage;

6. Ensure wider distribution of State Government Coverage through sharing of content with public media stations (and other media organizations) across each state.

Applicants for the RFP must address at least one of the first five Goals (listed above) in their proposals. Further, to address Goal 6, all applicants must also provide a statewide distribution plan for the content to be created using CPB grant funds.

Please download the Request for Proposals below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Proposals268.02 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 
General Overview and Timeline Questions

What is the grant length?

The intended grant length is two years.

How does CPB define “State Government Coverage”? Is this strictly about state government or can it include coverage of legislative topics statewide?

This grant project seeks to increase and deepen coverage of state government and policies, and the impact on state residents, which would include legislative topics.

Is there a limit on how many staff members we could hire?

There is no limit specified on how many staff could be hired as part of the grant project. Please note that sustainability is one of the five evaluation criteria.

Please provide clarification on the timeline, specifically contract start. What scope of work is planned for that time?

The RFP states that CPB seeks to execute grants by the end of June, after which the proposed work is expected to begin in a timely manner. CPB will work with selected grantees on the start and end dates of the grant. Generally speaking, ramp up periods, such as a hiring timeline, can be included.

What's the timeline that CPB is anticipating for the second round of funding based on the experience of the first round? Can we expect an FY25 start date? or the early calendar year 2025?

The timeline outlined in the RFP sets a goal of executing contracts by June 2024, and we expect the proposed work to start in 2024.

At what point do people need to be hired? And does the fact that we already have a reporter who could easily fit into this full-time role help?

CPB seeks to fund work that meets the RFP goals and will work with grantees to establish a reasonable timeline for the proposed work.

What are CPB’s fiscal year dates?

CPB's fiscal year starts October 1. However, that does not affect the timing for these grants.

Do you expect any additional rounds of funding over the next 1-2 years for State Government Coverage?

At this time, we cannot confirm if additional rounds of funding will be available in the future.
FAQ Topic: 
Process and Proposal Questions

For someone who submitted a proposal last year and was declined, do you expect our proposal to be completely different this year, or can we reuse language as we make our proposal better?

This is a competitive RFP process and applicants should make sure they are submitting the strongest possible proposal that meets the goals stated in the RFP. If a previous proposal was not accepted, the following questions should be considered: • Did the proposal address the priorities of the RFP? • Was the budget aligned with the activities of the proposal? • Did you effectively express the impact of the proposed activities? • If you were collaborating, did you have strong letters of support from your collaborators? Did your proposal demonstrate a shared commitment of resources? • Was it well written and clear?

What stood out in successful proposals from last year?

Successful proposals effectively addressed the key goals of the RFP. They clearly defined a strategy, articulated a clear need, and demonstrated a commitment to sustaining the work beyond the terms of the grant. All proposals will be evaluated based on the five criteria listed and described in the RFP: approach and staffing, readiness and experience, the anticipated impact, the prospect of sustainability, and the reasonableness of the budget. Furthermore, details and transparency enable CPB and reviewers to evaluate proposals most effectively.

If an applicant already has a state capital reporter in their state, what enhancements to that status would fit within the funding priorities?

Please refer to the six goals listed in the RFP.

When it comes to CPB's effort to bolster the number of journalists who spend 75% of their time or more on State Government Coverage, will you prioritize applications seeking funding for existing employees, new hires, contractors or some other arrangement?

This RFP seeks to grow state government coverage capacity in public media. There must be some enhancement or expansion of coverage through funding existing employees.

How important is coverage of the actual legislative session versus year-round coverage of state government issues?

CPB would prioritize year-round coverage, as it is one of the goals stated in the RFP.

Does CPB have a geographic priority for this funding? Or conversely, a geographic element that is not prioritized?

CPB is focused on where coverage is in demand, which is not necessarily dependent on a particular geographic location.

Would there be any priority given to public media entities, separate radio and TV stations, working together?

Please refer to Goal 2 of the RFP.

We are in a state with 2 public radio stations (and the local PBS stations don't do local news). How does that impact a successful application?

Please refer to the goals of the RFP. To address Goal 6, all applicants must also provide a statewide distribution plan for the content to be created using CPB grant funds.

What are the expectations for what outreach and planning we'd need to do with the other public media outlets in the state? Do we need to get letters of support from any of these other outlets?

If your proposal includes a formal collaboration with other stations, then letters of support from them would be required. Otherwise, letters of support are not required, but it would bolster the evaluation of your plans to show that other stations are supportive and open to using the content you will produce.

If there are outlets located in the same State that have expressed interest or attended the webinar, is it possible to connect the newsrooms that are in the same state, so we are aware, and can consider collaborating rather than possibly unknowingly submitting separate proposals?

We encourage all participants to reach out to colleagues in their state directly.

Can you talk more about a state where there is state coverage, but we would be creating a new version of that state coverage?

Any proposal that ignores existing public media resources dedicated to state government coverage would likely not meet the priorities for funding, as CPB seeks to grow coverage, not duplicate it.

How quantitative should our measures of success be in the proposal, for example, are you looking for anticipated viewers, listeners, subscribers, engagement levels, etc.?

Please refer to “Measures of Success” Section III of the RFP.

When and how are Grant payments dispersed and are there grant reports required? What are the reporting requirements?

Reporting will be required several times a year throughout the term of the grant for narrative updates, financial reporting, content produced, and associated metrics. For further details, please refer to Sections 1 – 4 in the CPB grant Terms and Conditions, at

Will there be office hours to go through proposals and receive feedback?

The RFP selection process is competitive in nature and CPB does not provide proposal feedback before the submission deadline. CPB staff may reach out to applicants during the evaluation process to request more details or clarification on application materials when necessary.
FAQ Topic: 
Budget Questions

How much can we request in funding? What is the ask range?

The ask range can vary depending on the size and scope of the station (or the collaboration) project. There is no exact amount for these grants and CPB may elect to not fund the entirety of a proposal.

Can grant funding be used to cover a percentage of several reporters’ staff time or does it need to cover a single reporter’s staff time?

The RFP states that CPB will not fund existing positions unless the position dedicates more than 50% of the time to State Government Coverage.

Can we use part of this RFP to help forward fund a position?


How did the initial application total asks look compared to the final amounts awarded?

Typically, grant amounts awarded are not significantly different from proposal budget requests, as the reasonableness of the budget is considered in the evaluation process.

Is the total award amount over 2 years, or the total for each year?

The total grant amount is for a 24-month grant period. It is over two years, not year by year.

Do we need to include all indirect or in-kind costs in our budget proposals? Some university licenses seek overhead rates up to 35%. Does this grant allow facilities and administrative costs, or are these disallowed?

Cost is one of several factors CPB will consider when evaluating proposals. Each evaluation factor and its weight are set forth in Section V of the RFP.

If you have a nonprofit partner, is it okay for some of the grant to go to them?

Yes, in the form of a subgrant, where all grant spending is subject to review by the CPB Inspector General.

Is there a template for the budget?

No. The budget narrative should include additional details, clarification of figures and calculations, and any other information necessary to explain the revenue and expenses submitted in the budget, as referenced on page 6 of the RFP.