The C-J on Public Broadcasting, Federal Funding and LPM

by Gabe Bullard on April 11, 2011

The Courier-Journal has a story this morning on Louisville Public Media. It covers the current pledge drive, the ongoing expansion of the newsroom and the effect of the current efforts by some elected officials to strip public broadcasting of federal funding.

In response to Republican attacks on public broadcasting in Washington, Louisville Public Media’s spring fund drive has raised its goal from $500,000 last year to $650,000 for this year’s “campaign for independence.” Does that sound a bit melodramatic? Just how serious is the threat of federal defunding to the survival of Louisville Public Media?

Any defunding measure that passed the Republican-controlled House would face uncertain prospects in the Senate, which Democrats control. According to Yarmuth, the defunding battle is largely symbolic.

“I don’t think (defunding) has a very good chance (for passage),” Yarmuth said. “This is basically the tea party throwing red meat to their supporters.”

Even if government support did dry up, how vulnerable is Louisville Public Media? According to Mundt, federal funding accounts for around $320,000, or 9 percent, of the organization’s $3.5 million operating budget.

“The stations would not go off the air if that money went away,” Mundt said.

But Reynolds stressed that the going would not be easy. “I think it’s going to be difficult to raise another $319,000 a year,” he said. “That’s like another fund drive.”

Comments Closed


Harold Trainer April 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

It is the wrong approach. Campaign for Independence is not right. They should be up front and simply say the govt is threatening to reduce funds. It has nothing to do with real independence.

Harold Trainer April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I called Donovan Reynolds at Public Radio a few minutes ago (and, of course, left a message on his answering machine). This afternoon, the radio staff has been urging people to donate, especially since they have, in their exact words “lost financial support”. That’s OK. I guess understand that they think they need to use that euphemism to avoid naming those Washington SOBs who are pulling their financial support but . . .one of the announcers declared that the reduction in funding is because of “the recession”. Well, if you don’t consider the tax cuts for the billionaires or our 3 wars, I suppose you can call it the recession, but using that term just lets Washington off the hook. But then Julie, urging listeners to donate, says, “We want to be independent of the “sources who are not stable”, then asks the listeners, “Isn’t that what you want?” Julie, it wasn’t your choice. You don’t want independence from those sources. You want what I want, that one out of every three of those dollars you received from the government is placed back in your budget!

I called not to fuss at the station but to suggest that they stop their delusional speeches so they don’t further confuse Kentuckians ( who, I think we could agree are sometimes easily “confusable” if we take a look at the DC senators we have elected). Then again, why couldn’t the radio simply say, “Since the government has chosen to reduce our subsidies by 1/3, we have more need than ever of support from you, our loyal listeners”.

Greg Gilman April 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I sincerely hope you don’t change State of Affairs too much. It is, by far the best local program you have.
It took me a lot of listening before I figured out that it wasn’t a national show. I usually learn something new every time I listen. It’s hard to believe that Julie Credins is “local” talent. She is that good.
G. Gilman

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