Federal Funding Cut Would Hit Local Programming Hardest at St. Louis Public Radio

tim eby.jpg
Tim Eby
By now you've heard how a hidden-video sting released this week caught an NPR executive calling the Tea Party racist and Republicans anti-intellectual.

The tape has only added to calls from right-wing legislators to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides money to PBS, NPR and local community radio. (Last month such a bill passed the House; similar legislation has yet to be considered in the Senate.)

Here in St. Louis, the CPB provides KWMU 90.7 (a.k.a. St. Louis Public Radio) with $360,000 annually, which accounts for seven percent of the local NPR affiliate's operating budget.

This afternoon, Daily RFT talked to KWMU general manager Tim Eby about how his station could be impacted by the hidden-video sting and the possible elimination of federal support.

Daily RFT: Seven percent of your budget doesn't sound that significant -- or does it?

Tim Eby: Well, it helps pay for several staff members. But where this could really hurt the most is smaller NPR stations in rural markets. NPR is built around an idea of universal service -- providing free over-the-air service to as much of the nation as possible. And it's those rural areas that generally don't have as many outside funding sources.

What about here in St. Louis what would be hit?

I'd like to think that we'd do whatever we can to keep staff, but the biggest dent would probably be in our local news coverage and other local broadcasting such as the St. Louis Symphony on Saturday nights.

You have a pledge drive coming up next week. Are you concerned that some donors will be turned off by the revelations made in the hidden-camera video?

kwmu budget.JPG
I don't know. I try to be optimistic. The fact of the matter is that our membership has increased dramatically from 13,000 members giving $2 million annually in 2008 to 19,000 members giving $2.5 million today. They provide over half our budget.

Given the increase in private support at KWMU do you think that the NPR exec filmed in the under-cover video was right when he said that NPR would be better without CPB funding?

No. I do not. And it gets back to the universal coverage. That's the hallmark of the federal funding.

Have you received many calls from listeners and/or members about this week's hidden-camera flap?

Actually it's been pretty quiet. We heard a lot more over the Juan Williams firing last fall.   

My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Stevepohlman
Stevepohlman

The airwaves belong to the people. In that sense all broadcasters are publicly subsidized.

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

If NPR lost its federal funding, it would just be free to move further to the Left. I am not sure how that would help.

Mntvernon
Mntvernon

Gee Bill, looks like you've garnered the ire of one of Pat Lindsey's suck-ups, big time! Although I'd agree that NPR would reflect the leftest views of it's contributors, I really don't believe that would be detrimental to open discussion. After all the lib(eral)tards are always complaining about the influence of right wing Faux news, right? since Air America went belly-up their should be a 'loyal opposition' outlet to provide point/counterpoint to conservative views.Fair & Balanced? not a news organization, though. That's up to the listeners to decide.

anonymous
anonymous

who the fuck is pat lindsey?

here's a hint--if you're going say shit like libtard, you might as well keep it short, because nobody with half a brain is paying attention

Mntvernon
Mntvernon

owww, somebody didn't get their starbucks coffee, shame, shame. Pat Lindsey? One of Bills best friends. He once admonished me for speaking ill of her. Try this new fanged thing called google, it works.Half a brain.....you did respond didn't you?Tooodddles...............

anonymous
anonymous

shut the fuck up you piece of shit libertarian

child rape? LOL fodder

smoking bans? serious business

RGee
RGee

The issue is that due to the bias of NPR, government funding of such a source must be questioned. If it was more balanced, it may be possible, but... what media source is really "balanced?" They're all biased one way or the other. The best course of action for the government is to just stay out of it. If people agree with the views aired by NPR, then sure, they can donate. If not, then they don't have to. But when the government funds it, even a little bit, then it's a defacto forced donation from all taxpayers - and that is not right.

anonymous
anonymous

i have to pay for pre-emptive wars and televised funerals for police dogs

why can't you people pay for talk radio that isn't wildly racist and knee-jerk?

anonymous
anonymous

the rest of the dial is geared towards right-wing morons like you

npr may be a little too middle of the road for me, but at least it's intelligent

Anonymous12345
Anonymous12345

CDP? I think you mean CPB as in Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is the vehicle for federal funding of public broadcasting stations.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...