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

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.”