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Budget eliminating Corporation for Public Broadcasting will hit close to home

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

Signed into law by Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1967, CPB was created to insulate a news and education outlet from partisan wrangling. That high ideal didn't last. President Nixon wanted to zero out CPB.

According to a report on 1A on NPR this morning,"Conservative lawmakers feel broadcasting is not a proper role for government."

Compared to other countries, America spends very little on its public media. At four hundred forty five million, the budget of the agency works out to $1.35 per person per year. As one commentator put it - that's barely the dry cleaning bill for the Pentagon. But that doesn't mean the program has stayed under the opponents' radar.

CPB has been threatened before and has been saved by Congress. This year is different as the first time in many years that the legislative and executive branch are controlled by one part. Supporters can only hope that Trump's view is not the view of the majority of Congress - not Dems, not moderate Republicans. Their political outlook has not changed.

The x-ing out of public broadcasting funds in the budget will reach to the heartlands. Without federal funding, WKMS, our local public radio station at Murray State University, will be in a pickle.

We reached out to WKMS Station manager Chad Lampe, shown at left, for his thoughts.

Here is Chad's response:

"The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private entity funded by Congress, the annual appropriation is around $445 million to all qualifying public radio and TV stations. That equates to about 30 cents per tax payer for public radio. WKMS receives approximately 15% of its funding from a CPB Community Service Grant and Rural Service Grant. That grant totals approximately $184,000. The loss of that grant would be devastating to WKMS. We use those funds to bring our listeners award winning local and national news and music content.

WKMS raises approximately $6 for every $1 in CPB support. It's a tremendous public/private partnership. Another aspect of the CPB funding is the satellite interconnect system. This is of tremendous importance for public safety. Due to our autonomous interconnection public radio is exceptionally suited to respond to national disasters and reach more than 95% of the U.S. Population.

More than 41 million people listen to public radio stations each week. Public broadcasting (radio and television combined) reaches more than 95% of the U.S. population. It provides an essential service to local communities and serves as a lifeline for rural America and those seeking vital information during emergencies. Millions of Americans depend on their local public radio stations for the fact-based, unbiased, public service journalism they need to stay informed about the news in their own communities and the world. Public media is an essential, trusted source for local events and cultural programming featuring music, local history, education and the arts.

WKMS is tremendously lucky to have such a strong relationship with Murray State University, which holds the broadcasting license. MSU supports 6 full time staff members and provides in-kind facilities and back office support. WKMS did receive an approximate 10% reduction in support from MSU for fiscal year 16/17, but WKMS was not targeted. It was a matter of large scale cuts across the entire university. We are hopeful to there will be no future cuts, but the university is seeking to fill another budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

Simply put, WKMS is committed to serving listeners with every resource it can muster. Our vision is to inspire and empower a diverse audience by being a trusted and essential resource for information, culture, community, and regional growth. It is important for this largely rural region to have an outlet for the type of news and music provided by WKMS. We are a source for civil discourse in a world that can sometimes be overwhelmed by cacophonous arguing. We are invested in this region and continually work to bring to light the things that make our region great."

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