New Report Chronicles Impact of State Funding Cuts on Public Media

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New Report Chronicles Impact of State Funding Cuts on Public Media

On the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media examines public media cuts in 24 states.

WASHINGTON - On Monday, Free Press released a new report showing state support for public broadcasting is declining at an alarming rate.

On the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media is a first-of-its-kind inventory of state funding for public broadcasting. Free Press found that since 2008, 24 states have cut more than $85 million from public broadcasting budgets. And the numbers are even bleaker when placed in a historical context: If the appropriations had remained level with the figures from 2008, more than $200 million in additional funding would have been allocated in these 24 states during this four-year period.

Read the executive summary and full report here: http://www.savethenews.org/State_Funding.

“Public broadcasters are being expected to weather enormous cuts that are way out of line with reductions in state budgets,” said Josh Stearns of Free Press, who co-authored the report with Mike Soha. “In most cases state budgets are seeing single-digit percent decreases, while public broadcasters are facing dramatic double-digit cuts, if not total elimination of their funding. This suggests that many of these cuts are being made to score political points, not to balance budgets.”

In this year’s round of state budget negotiations alone, state governments nationwide have slashed nearly $30 million from public media budgets. Some states have even implemented aggressive phase-out plans that could mean the loss of tens of millions more in the next few years.

See infographics on cuts to individual states at http://www.savethenews.org/State_Funding.

• Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have cut their entire state appropriations for public broadcasting.

• Since 2008, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina and Virginia have seen a nearly 50 percent or greater cut in state support.

• Over the same four-year period, stations in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma have seen their state appropriations reduced by more than 25 percent.

• Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine and South Carolina have faced threats of multi-year phase-outs of all state funding.

“State budget cuts threaten to undermine many stations’ abilities to produce local content and reach every corner of the nation,” Stearns said. “Public broadcasting in its many forms is essential information infrastructure. In many communities, public radio and TV connect people to vital news, information and services. But dwindling state funding means that public media in America is already doing more with less. Further cuts at the federal or state level could be disastrous.”

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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