Kentucky Educational Television is asking its viewers to oppose calls for cuts to federal funding for public broadcasting. KET is one of many broadcasters taking part in the 170 Million Americans campaign.
The campaign is aimed at organizing listeners and viewers of public radio and television to urge their legislators to oppose any cuts. Several lawmakers are proposing cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund public radio and television across the country, and provides 14% of KET’s $23 million budget.
Spokesperson Tim Bischoff says public broadcasting is not biased as some have contended, and without it, many Americans would have few or no sources for news and entertainment.
“In many rural communities the public broadcaster is the only local broadcasting voice in that community, whether it be through educational television or through public radio,” he says.
About one million people watch KET programs at home or in classrooms each week. Most of the network’s funding comes from the state government. Bischoff says Kentucky lawmakers are supportive of KET, but like any other state agency, the network has faced cuts and is already stretching its current budget as far as it can go.
“We’re offering thousands of resources online and a great deal of content online,” he says. “We’re broadcasting three channels 24 hours a day, back in 1991 we were offering one channel just part of the day, not even 24 hours a day.”
Louisville Public Media and other public radio stations in Kentucky are also supporting the 170 Million Americans campaign.