Archive for Monday, October 8, 2012

TV chief defends the role of PBS

Funding is tiny part of federal budget but crucial in state, manager says

October 8, 2012


— The political debate over the role of government — embodied by Big Bird — may be getting some laughs on the campaign trail, but Michael Quade, the general manager of Smoky Hills Public Television, sees nothing humorous in the prospect of ending federal funding to PBS.

“We would have to re-evaluate everything and probably have to do away with a lot of stuff,” said Quade, whose station serves 70 counties from Salina west to Colorado.

In last week’s presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would do away with federal funding of PBS. A day later, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, said the same thing, while her Democratic opponent, Tobias Schlingensiepen, of Topeka, said he would fight for PBS funding with his life.

Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting totals $450 million this year, accounting for about 15 percent of the CPB’s budget. That $450 million appropriation also represents roughly one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the total federal budget.

That money to PBS supplements the budgets of 179 stations nationally. For some of the smaller stations in rural areas, such as Smoky Hills, this subsidy makes up a major portion of budgeting.

Ending federal funding for public broadcasting would wipe out 40 percent of the budget at Smoky Hills, Quade said on Monday.

The station has a number of local productions, such as an agricultural show, high school sports, a Kansas legislative call-in show and others. In addition, the station supplies thousands of books to children in Head Start and conducts early-childhood workshops.

He said whether “Sesame Street,” which features Big Bird, would survive such a cut would probably be decided on the national level. Sesame Workshop, the producers who make “Sesame Street,” have said that while it is not part of PBS, it depends on the stations to distribute its work.

During a debate last week at the Dole Institute of Politics, Jenkins said she didn’t think it was appropriate for the federal government to be adding to the national debt by spending money on PBS.

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Quade said PBS plays a critical role in society, especially for children. “It’s about educating children in a safe place,” he said. He said if a family is watching PBS “you’re not going to see a commercial pop up that is going to make you blush.”


GardenMomma 1 year, 6 months ago

0.012% = $0.00012

So, for every dollar of the Federal budget, PBS gets one thousandth of a penny.


Gotland 1 year, 6 months ago

PBS is one of many cuts Romney would make. I know why you dems are jumping on the big bird thing. You are desperate and it is a diversion.


Chris Golledge 1 year, 6 months ago

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Apparently it is OK to bill you grandkids for bombs, but not for Big Bird.


tbaker 1 year, 6 months ago

Like a lot of things the government does, one could at least argue that at a point in time there once was a pronounced need for fill-in-the-blank government program. In Western Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming where I spent a good deal of my youth, PBS was often the only TV channel you could get, assuming the last storm hadn’t damaged the antenna. One could at least make a case based on that reality that spending the tax payers money to provide television to the families living in the media desert was a prudent use of that money.

Given the media environment Americans have today, that argument is no longer a valid justification to continue funding PBS. Things have changed.

The new basis to save PBS is based on the relative notion of its supposed “quality” and its sacred cow status reinforced by the comparatively small amount of money involved. Given our dire fiscal problems, neither of these are a rational basis to continue to spend tax money on something the commercial marketplace is orders of magnitude better suited to provide.

This rationale is nonetheless instructive because as the debate begins to make the hard choices about the deep spending cuts we need to make, we will hear this same specious reasoning applied again and again.


Flap Doodle 1 year, 6 months ago

Wouldn't it be more fair to have the people who are raking in the bucks on the Sesame Street merchandising pay more of the toll?


tange 1 year, 6 months ago

Romney understands how personally to concentrate wealth created by others.
A man who understands so little never should be permitted to hold public office.


atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

Pruning is the proper way to attack a budget mess. 0.012% here and there is too skimpy. Many cuts would need to be made. 20 to 30% across the board is reasonable.

If I am not mistaken. Certain Americans complained endlessly. Complained tiresly that Romney did not have specifics to his budget plan.

Considering the frightenly rampant hate and anger shot at Romney over a fake bird, I can see why he kept the specifics of his plan close to the vest. At least he is transparent.


grammaddy 1 year, 6 months ago

PBS is 0.012% of the budget. While Sesame Street could probably stand on it's own with all the merchandise,it is not the only program on PBS. Just the only one Romney could name.He probably wasn't aware of who Lehrer was until the debate.


beatrice 1 year, 6 months ago

It is a matter of priorities. What else does Romney want to cut? Has he been specific on anything other than PBS?

PBS, since it helps educate us and (sadly) is the only preschooling many children receive, is a benefit for our society. If we cut in half what we give to oil companies, that would more than pay for PBS. We have our priorities wrong when we put oil before children.


gravitykills 1 year, 6 months ago

A half billion a year is just toenail weight. Maybe! But, you just demonstrated a fundamental problem with this country.

In ten years, the US could put 5 billion towards our dept just from cutting one small program. Add ten more similar programs and we're at 50 billion. Add ten more years without those programs and we're at a half trillion.

There are definitely bigger fish out there, but the small ones count too.


fiddleback 1 year, 6 months ago

It's sad that Fred's not around anymore to give people an inkling of perspective. He puts this sort of bullying nonsense to shame.

Watch 1969 Senate Hearings on PBS. See more from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.


justfornow 1 year, 6 months ago

Our defense department has kept us free, you also beatrice. I certainly hope when Gov. Romney becomes President he doesn't borrow from China or anyone else to finance any unneeded programs. I for one have and need hope for my grand kids future! I'm not selfish!!


beatrice 1 year, 6 months ago

As I've said before, Romney won the debate with his presentation and helped energize conservatives (who were voting for him no matter what), but he probably lost votes among all important undecided voters with his claim to put PBS on the chopping block.

We can "borrow money" to give oil companies billions but helping educate our populace through PBS programming is too much? Stunning.

Honestly, I think we spend money on PBS, but are borrowing money to support our bloated defense department.


jesse499 1 year, 6 months ago

It's going have to be a lot more things that you don't like added together to get things back in shape but know one wants to hear that.


riverdrifter 1 year, 6 months ago

As somebody said, cutting PBS to save budget money is like a fat person trimming their toenails in order to lose weight.


jesse499 1 year, 6 months ago

It's just like home if your going to balance your budget luxury's have to be cut first then when you get back in better financial shape then you can start over. Not spend,spend spend and when you run out barrow like they want to do in DC now.You talk about our Kids and grand kids what about leaving them a debt they can't pay is that what you want ?


Constitutional_Malfeasance 1 year, 6 months ago

Is this LJW employee for Real? I my short Few Weeks Here, I find this guy to be increasingly hard to Take seriously.


Trumbull 1 year, 6 months ago

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

I wonder also if we want to hand our unborn grandkids an unsustainable environment, with depleted resources and life, polluted with plastic, toxins, heavy metals, and possibly much warmer temperatures.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 6 months ago

It ain't??? How so??

II listen to to KPR (KANU) every day and find their rational, reasonable and factual reporting and programming 10 miles above the usual news outlets (CNN and Fox). Perhaps the Republican Romney spinmeisters fear the tral truth. The rabid, religious, rightwingnut extremeists have been bashing on Public Radio for years because they will not carry the Rush Limbaugh style drivel that they so fanatically crave to hear. Fox news is so skewed to the right edge of the niverse that I cannot stand to hear all their foaming and frothing.

CNN can go overboard at times but is by far the better of the two media outlets. I am certain that there are still enough rational people in the country that PBS and Public radio will continue to thrive and be a pulic service holding up the integrity of the truth against the tea bag soaked rubbish that some prefer to believe.


KansasLiberal 1 year, 6 months ago

“Do I want to send my grandkids, that aren’t even born yet, the bill so they can watch PBS? Of course not. This is ridiculous,” she said.

But you can send your grandkids the bill for the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the military bases in Germany, England, Korea, Japan, and the tax cuts for millionaires? It's funny how republicans only care about the debt and borrowing from China when there's a Democrat in the White House.


OonlyBonly 1 year, 6 months ago

A little note about CPB & PBS........ from Wikipedia. "The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires the CPB to operate with a "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature".[12] It also requires it to regularly review national programming for objectivity and balance, and to report on "its efforts to address concerns about objectivity and balance"." Ain't happening > no $$$$$


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