Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kansas public broadcasting could lose funding

April 30, 2014


— Supporters of public broadcasting are concerned this could be the year that state funding for public radio and broadcast stations ends in Kansas.

Gov. Sam Brownback's budget recommendation for the next fiscal year includes $600,000 for public broadcasting, down from $3.8 million in 2008. But some lawmakers consider public broadcasting a target for further cuts at a time when the state budget is stretched to cover such things as public schools and social services, The Kansas City Star reported.

A House committee voted earlier this year to drop the $600,000 subsidy but a Senate budget committee agreed with Brownback and allocated the subsidy for the coming year. Lawmakers returned to work Wednesday for a wrap-up session.

"I'm worried about it," said Rep. Don Hineman, a western Kansas Republican who supports funding for public broadcasting.

Other lawmakers are not convinced state funds should go to public stations.

"I don't care if PBS exists," said Rep. Virgil Peck, a Tyro Republican. "I'm just not in favor of taxpayer dollars going to fund something that can do its own fundraising and competes against private industry."

Public broadcasters say they have already cut staff, trimmed educational outreach efforts and are using cheaper programming, and they are working to increase private funding. A drop in public funding would require even more changes.

"We'll have a lot of hard decisions to make," said Deb Oyler, executive director of High Plains Public Radio, which serves part western Kansas. "We'll have to look at every single aspect of the station."

The state provides 1 percent of funding for public stations in Kansas City and Lawrence. At High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, state funding of about $89,000 is about 9 percent of that station's $1 million budget. At Smoky Hills Public Television in Bunker Hill, about $209,000 — or about 12 percent — of its $1.7 million budget comes from state grants.

Some lawmakers think public broadcasting isn't as needed today as it was before cable TV, satellite radio and the Internet.

"It used to be when I was a kid that you could drive through western Kansas and you couldn't get anything. There wasn't an AM station or anything," said Rep. Jim Howell, a Derby Republican. "Those days are so far gone."

Public broadcasting executives think stations will stay on the air if state funding disappears but quality will suffer.

"Will it all go away? Probably not," said Janet Campbell, station manager for Kansas Public Radio. "Will it be as reliable and strong? No."


Phillip Chappuie 4 years, 1 month ago

I think Virgil Peck needs to go back to Oklahoma and sell insurance. He demonstrates his narrow minded stupidity every time he opens his mouth in Topeka. Or anywhere else. I'm sure there are a lot of people that don't care if he exist.

Randall Uhrich 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks again, Brownback. For nothing. Leave no good institution untouched. We'll never undo all of his damage.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

Granted PBS is wonderful but considering the realities life today I would suggest stopping all funding for PBS and instead putting that money in social services. Hungry or mistreated children cannot fully appreciate Big Bird anyway. Let's face it the programs on PBS are designed to appeal to the middle class and they are able to donate money to keep it going.

James Howlette 4 years, 1 month ago

And exactly how likely do you think it is that they'll put that money into social services rather than continuing to fund corporate tax breaks?

Julius Nolan 4 years, 1 month ago

Actually Leslie, their programs are designed for any ordinary thinking person. I already contribute to many worthy organizations. Are you OK with all the tax breaks given to those who oppose helping anyone other than the 1%?

4 years, 1 month ago

Leslie, I replied to your comment and figured it was invisible because of the site hiccup, but now I'm glad it never posted -- I hope -- because I get to write a toned-down version. (Or maybe it was removed instead of my site-error report, which I flagged for removal to get the moderator's attention...). Anyway, my toned down version: I know you did not mean for your comment to be offensive, but it was. Your statement that "the programs on PBS are designed to appeal to the middle class" seems to me very prejudiced and wrong. Trust me, "hungry children" are not beneath Big Bird, and they can appreciate it just fine. In fact much of the children's programming on PBS was designed with all children in mind but especially disadvantaged children whose parents may be too busy or overwhelmed to engage with them, or whose primary language is not English. Studies have shown these programs to have significant, measurable benefits. They are not an "excess" or "luxury" for well-off folks (who, by the way, are more likely to keep their kids occupied with piano lessons and karate classes).

Those "hungry children" you are concerned about are not so different from the children you may know and love, and they are not a species of a different critter. They are human children. Humans need more than just food to survive -- yes, even if they are not "middle class." And adults of all "classes" can appreciate and benefit from the adult programming. You can be poor and still appreciate classical music or jazz. Furthermore, not all government funds are, or should be, primarily for poor people; gov't should support all of society, and public broadcasting aims to do that. Public funds for it are important because otherwise information is largely controlled by moneyed interests. In fact, relying too much on donations threatens to take the "public" out of public broadcasting.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 years, 1 month ago

Leslie, I think you are bit naive. This isn't a lot of money to begin with, and the reason they want to take this money away is because they have already given huge tax cuts to the wealthy. They do not care about social services. They are turning social services over to for profit companies, so their friends can make even more money. They do not care about hungry or mistreated children. They are only worried about making even more money.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 years, 1 month ago

"I'm just not in favor of taxpayer dollars going to fund something that can do its own fundraising and competes against private industry."

How does KPR compete against other private industry? What station brings us classical music? Which ones bring us interesting programs? It's music, shock jocks, or nasty talk radio.

How does PBS compete? What other station would bring us interesting stories about our state. How does Sponge Bob Square Pants compare to the quality of Sesame Street? Cable TV has done nothing to bring us quality education. History channel? The Learning Channel? Full of faux reality TV shows or shows about Nostradamus and aliens. They would turn Antiques Roadshow into a contest.

If Peck could point out quality programming on commercial TV and radio, I'll support this. But he just won't be able to do it. It exists in such small quantities you and can have 150 TV stations and nothing good to watch.

Phillip Chappuie 4 years, 1 month ago

If Peck was to point out quality programming it would have to most likely be from a Tulsa station. He doesn't really do much in Kansas except advance right wing ALEC policy that is destroying our society. Possibly he is just misinformed and doesn't understand as PBS is on such a much higher intellectual plain than he is used to. He told us himself a couple of weeks ago that he didn't think he got a very good education as a kid.

Ralph Reed 4 years, 1 month ago

Peck wants to cut public broadcasting because it actually helps inform the electorate. Peck lives off the uneducated and uninformed electorate because those voters elect him.

Virgil Peck does need to leave. Target him for being voted out of office.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 1 month ago

Peck is mad because they don't carry Limbaugh, Beck or Fox.

beth newman 4 years, 1 month ago

That's why it's the best is thing out there on radio...

James Howlette 4 years, 1 month ago

I wonder which radio station goes with stupid comments involving helicopters.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 1 month ago

Don't fund PBS but cut taxes for private fitness centers. BROWNBACK BAD FOR KANSAS.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 1 month ago

Sam ALEC Koch er I mean Sam Brownback does nothing good for the state of Kansas.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

A majority of taxpayers want THEIR tax dollars spent on PBS.

OUR TAX DOLLARS DO NOT belong to elected officials. These republicans have lost their minds to arrogance and to anti American right wing causes.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 1 month ago

If Kansas loses our own PBS there is always KCUR and:

KKFI-FM 90.1 ( Mon – Fri 8AM-10AM ) can be heard around the world…. Why not go streaming?




Democracy NOW -















HEALTH CARE NOW - ( very interesting findings) Physicians for a National Health Program =======================================================




Melinda Henderson 4 years, 1 month ago

Because not EVERYBODY, especially those outside metro areas, have access to internet, high-speed or otherwise.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 1 month ago

Seems JW still hasn't figured out how to use forum software;.

James Howlette 4 years, 1 month ago

Looks like they finally found the right button. I wonder if it's still messed up for people who aren't logged in.

4 years, 1 month ago

Replies are not showing up again. And it's reverse chrono order, again.

4 years, 1 month ago

In addition to the periodic missing replies and upside-down order, another thing I can't figure out is why some posts are indented, and others are not. Indents on other forums usually indicate a reply to the post above the indented one, so the random indents of new non-reply posts are not at all helpful. Maybe it is the browser we use for posting? Chrome here.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

After reading the comments about my comments I am going to do an about face. I want to publicly apologize for what I wrote, my intentions were good as at the time I wrote I honestly imagined the money going directly to poor families.

My daughter and granddaughter were both raised watching PBS.

My remarks were based on emotion mind and my emotion at the moment. I am sorry I wrote that and in future will try to think before I post. I want to thank all who took the time to comment because they are totally right and reading their comments made me fully realize just how wrong I was.

4 years, 1 month ago

Your new comment is very sweet. This is the hard part about web forums like this (and why I don't participate much, because I mess up all the time). It is very different from a true conversation when we can usually just say what pops into our minds without much consequence or bad feelings, because we can just sort things out quickly in the course of an in-person dialogue. I'm glad you did not get mad about my harsh post.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 1 month ago

No, of course not, I thank you for it because it made me rethink what I wrote. I love PBS. Please call me out whenever it is needed.

Bob Smith 4 years, 1 month ago

You want to listen to public radio? Be willing to pick up the check and leave the rest of us out of the equation.

Bob Reinsch 4 years, 1 month ago

I wonder how Rep. Peck would feel if all those involved in agribusiness in his district lost their government subsidies.

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