Archive for Friday, March 31, 2017

KU cuts KPR, Audio-Reader budget by $400,000 in two-year span; staff reductions on horizon

Dan Skinner, director of Kansas Public Radio, center, is flanked by volunteer Tana Ahlen, Eudora, left, and KPR music director Michael Keelan, as the three ask listeners for contributions during the station's Campaign for Excellence on Friday, March 31, 2017 at the KANU studio.

Dan Skinner, director of Kansas Public Radio, center, is flanked by volunteer Tana Ahlen, Eudora, left, and KPR music director Michael Keelan, as the three ask listeners for contributions during the station's Campaign for Excellence on Friday, March 31, 2017 at the KANU studio.

March 31, 2017


The public radio station based at the University of Kansas is staring down the largest budget cut in its history and expects staff reductions as a result.

KU is permanently reducing its financial support for the station as a way of dealing with the multimillion-dollar cuts the university has received from the state, said Dan Skinner, director of Kansas Public Radio and its sister organization, the Kansas Audio-Reader Network.

On top of $100,000 budget reductions to both KPR and Audio-Reader for fiscal year 2017, which the Journal-World reported in October, each entity will be cut an additional $100,000 for fiscal year 2018, Skinner said. In total, that creates a $400,000 permanent budget reduction in a two-year span.

The amount is “a lot to absorb that quickly,” Skinner said. “The reduction in funding from the university will have a significant impact on both KPR and the Audio-Reader Network.”

The second wave of cuts was confirmed in recent months, Skinner said.

KPR publicized the reduction this week at the kickoff of the station’s on-air spring fundraising drive, which runs through April 7.

Pledge support to Kansas Public Radio

KPR's spring fundraising drive runs through April 7. To pledge support, call 1-888-577-5268 or make a contribution online at

KPR’s total cash operating budget for the current year is about $2.2 million, and Audio-Reader’s is $720,000, according to Nicole Banman, business manager for the organizations. Of the totals, KU contributes about $385,500 for KPR and $342,800 for Audio-Reader, plus in-kind support such as IT support, electricity and use of the building at 1120 W. 11th St.

The university’s fiscal year begins July 1.

KPR left three and a half positions unfilled to get through this year, Skinner said. KPR has a total of 21 full- and part-time employees remaining.

More staff reductions will be needed as a result of the newly announced cuts, Skinner said, though he said he could not share specifics about affected positions because it’s a personnel matter. He said cuts also would limit the station’s ability to purchase programming.

Going forward, Skinner said, KPR must lean even more heavily on donations.

“KPR will have to become leaner, at least temporarily, to deal with the budget reductions,” he said. “By necessity, the percentage of funding coming from listeners will need to increase in the future.”

As for Audio-Reader, where KU support makes up a larger percentage of the total budget, the impact of the university’s budget cuts will be even stronger, Skinner said.

Audio-Reader depends on individual donations, foundation grants and income from fundraising events, Skinner said. In addition to the organization’s small staff, more than 450 volunteers enable Audio-Reader to provide free news and other broadcasts for blind, visually impaired and print-disabled people in Kansas and western Missouri.

In Lawrence, KPR is on air at FM 91.5. The station also broadcasts live online at

KU funding for KPR

Total university support per fiscal year and percentage of operating budget it represents. Numbers represent cash and do not include in-kind support, and 2017 and 2018 figures are estimates.


2016 — $490,505 (24 percent)

2017 — $385,513 (18 percent)

2018 — $285,531 (14 percent)


2016 — $499,445 (67 percent)

2017 — $342,813 (54 percent)

2018 — $242,813 (39 percent)

Source: KPR

Audio-Reader benefit concert

"A Tribute to the Beatles!" is planned for April 14 at Liberty Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. A number of area musicians will perform. Tickets, available at Liberty Hall, are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. All proceeds benefit the Kansas Audio-Reader Network.

Contact KU and higher ed reporter Sara Shepherd
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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 4 weeks ago

This makes me so mad. KPR and audio reader are two of the best things in this town. I don't want my taxes going to pay incompetent nasty legislators, I want it going to KPR. One more reason for me to hate the Kochs.

Bob Summers 7 months, 4 weeks ago

This is devastating news.

How will Liberals disseminate their fantasy news without a taxpayer funded town crier like KPR?

Maybe KPR can cut out the fantasies and stick with music.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Obviously you have never listened to KPR. Of course, you only get your news from people who don't care about facts, just opinions and conspiracy theories.

Bob Summers 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I listen to Retro cocktail hour.

Occasionally, I'll listen to some of the news fantasies to see what the ring leaders have scheming. Obama the complex critical thinking intellectual. NAZI Trump and his band of deplorable haters. etc etc etc

Richard Neuschafer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

More of the Rush Limbaugh brainwashing coming to the surface in your case.

Shelley Bock 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Bob doesn't truly listen to NPR as it is the only radio service which covers the entire spectrum of political opinion. And, with KPR2 @ 96.1, there is now information from the BBC World Service. And only for liberals? My Dad, who spent 32 years in the Marine Corps, was as proud to be a KANU contributor for decades as he was of his Bronze Star and Purple Heart earned on Peleliu in 1944.

Michael Kort 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It is the " TRULY BLIND " oppressing the physically blind !

THANKS BROWNIE........!!!!!

Maybe brownie will be invited to go along the next time that " THE DONALD " takes another $ 3 million dollar a pop weekend imperial trip at the federal expense of ' TAXPAYERS LIKE BOB ", to Moron Largo.......not to mention the $ 60,000 that the city down there pays out to protect "his highness" from whatever ?

Poor oppressed BOB !

Maybe if Trump would stay home in Washington on the weekends he could save some taxpayer money LIKE BOB WANTS THESE POLITICIANS TO DO ! build his Mexican wall with ? .... I know,....the Mexicans are going to pay for the wall ?

So we all better buy a sombrero and get some skin cream that will darken our complexions and learn some spanish because Americans are on the hook for this thing, one way orthe other ! offence meant to Mexican peoples.......just noticing the LIE out loud !

By the time that Donald is thru with " Making America Great ", the Mexicans will have a brand new wall to keep Americans out of Mexico ! well as TAXPAYER BOB !

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Looks like taxpayers may need to step up donations a bit....

UNTIL a reasonable legislature is once again in place ....

Michael Kort 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Sure Richard ?

Donations that now go to" FOR EXAMPLE' : the homeless shelter, to food banks, to healthcare access, Public TV, LMH, The United Way, local arts and on and on and on. can be diverted to whatever they defund next from Topeka .

i don't think that TAXPAYER BOB is down with your idea and the reality is that brand new large money going to this could easily be needed at other existing charities in Lawrence, while these stations are statewide non profit concerns that broadcast to large parts of this state .

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Like most Americans, I am not overly keen on socialism. History shows that it can curb important personal freedoms and stultify entire economies. But it is not inherently evil. And by the way, if you enjoy your 40-hour workweek, with weekends off, you owe those to an earlier generation of socialist-leaning labor leaders who championed that and so much more that Americans now take for granted.

Where is the statistical evidence that private healthcare outperforms national health insurance programs? The United States ranks 37th on health outcomes, according to the World Health Organization, and it has one of the highest infant mortality rates among developed countries, suggesting that socialized medicine may afford better patient care in some situations.

Opponents of the White House healthcare plans deliberately distort the extent of government involvement in such programs, when the only thing to be "socialized" was the so-called public option health insurance plan – and that may be dropped. Doctors and hospitals would remain private. Critics appear to have deliberately polarized public opinion to scuttle President Obama's initiatives.

Meanwhile, members of Congress enjoy "cradle to grave" socialist medical and retirement benefits that outstrip those of the old Soviet Central Committee members.

Many thousands of the poorest Americans and illegal aliens already have access to taxpayer-funded socialized medicine and hospitals through existing Medicaid benefits. One physician tells me that Medicaid recipients get free hospital care plus stipends at taxpayers' expense. Yet tens of millions of working Americans whose taxes subsidize Medicaid have no access to any health insurance of their own.

Particularly lame are the complaints of healthcare critics in the southeastern US who benefit from the regional socialism of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government-owned-and-operated supplier of electricity for tens of millions.

America's Social Security program is Bismarckian socialism. Medicare, especially with its prescription drug benefit program is socialistic. Government aid to parochial schools is sleight-of-hand socialism.

Socialism's most vocal critics are often beneficiaries of corporate welfare with all its perks: expense account meals, free NFL box seats, free corporate cellphone use. One firm for which I worked held foreign correspondent meetings in Rome, enabling the executives to visit tailors and shop for Christmas presents in Italy. Exploiting US tax codes, corporate America has long enjoyed its own brand of socialism subsidized by taxpayers.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Where is the statistical evidence that private healthcare outperforms national health insurance programs?"

People will try and tell you that it's bureaucracy, but having to deal with a major insurance company who used to be my secondary insurance, and now, since retirement, is my primary insurance, I'll tell you that's bs. Every time blood work or any other test is sent to another state, I have to call the same company in that state and tell them that I no longer have insurance anywhere else. Apparently they aren't allowed to communicate this fact nationwide.

Now some of you will blame this on the government, because states put a lot of their own requirements on insurance companies and decide which can sell insurance within their state. In fact, I've heard conservatives say that we could decrease premiums if insurance companies by allowing insurance companies to compete across the country. For a long time now there has been a majority of states with Republican governors and legislatures. Federal congress has been controlled by Republicans for quite awhile. So why hasn't insurance sales been opened up nationwide? Maybe because they don't want the competition and are bribing, I mean donating to a lot of politicians.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

For those of you who think that NPR news programs have a liberal slant, I call bs on you. You have just been told that by your slanted media and you believe it. Try listening. Whenever they are interviewing someone who is a liberal, they will ask questions that would make the right proud, and when they are interviewing someone on the right, they ask questions that would make the left proud. They tell us both sides of a story, whether we want to hear it or not. The ask tough questions, which perhaps the whiners on the right can't stand, but too bad. Our public radio station gives us news from Topeka. They also have entertaining comedy programs, and if you are offended by the jokes they tell, maybe you need to get a sense of humor.

My husband and I pay our taxes. There are whole lot of people now who aren't paying income taxes on sizable incomes. They probably even listen to KPR. But don't ask them to pay for it. They prefer getting something for nothing and letting us peons pay. Aren't peons suppose to support royalty?

Clara Westphal 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope Audio Reader can be saved. It provides a true service for the blind.

Charles Jones 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Agree with Ms. Westphal. Audio reader helps many people who are elderly -- such as victims of macular degeneration -- and may not have very good computer skills. Many rural Kansans do not have access to adequate internet connections. All to further enrich Sam's best friends. What a soulless society Kansas has become.

Clark Coan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I recall when the State cut funds to KU several years ago and so KU closed down the Museum of Anthropology. I thought that was unnecessary and KU administrators were just trying show negative publicity. Same for the current cuts. How much do you think the School of Business, School of Engineering and hard sciences are getting cut?

Michael Kort 7 months, 3 weeks ago


Thomas Bryce Jr. 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I donated to help, as I always do, in the Fall and Spring Drive. Been in the Director's club for many years. Public Radio is important! I urge anyone that can to listen and Donate if you believe Public Radio is good for America.

Richard Aronoff 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Can someone tell me why the KU Chancellor's job is worth $500,000 a year. Seems to me a person in Lawrence could live really well on $300K, leaving $200K for KPR.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh but I bet you admire those CEO's of corporations who make millions and spend most of their time on the golf course. The Chancellor's job is a lot more important and difficult than any CEO's job.

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