How Will Pres. Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Affect Local PBS Stations?

By Kevin Eck 

WVUE in New Orleans asked public broadcasters in the market about the Trump Administration’s intent to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Ron Yaeger, GM of New Orleans public television station WLAE, said the threat of cuts to the CPB is common with new presidential administrations. “It’s certainly a concern, but it’s also about education of a new administration,” he told the New Orleans Fox affiliate.

“Could it mean cuts? Potentially, but too early to say,” said WYES vp of Development Robin Cooper.

Variety reports the cuts would hit one Tennessee community hardest. WCTE is the PBS station serving Cookeville, Tennessee, which lies between Nashville and Knoxville.

“When an emergency comes, we’re the ones that tell them,” said station manager Becky Magura. “We are part of the backbone of public safety around here.” From Variety:

CPB money accounts for 40% of WCTE’s annual operating budget, which is a little less than $2 million. The foundational support provided by the CPB greatly enables the station’s fundraising efforts and grant solicitations, Magura says.

WCTE is the only local TV station that the majority of the 343,430 residents of the 14 small counties that comprise Upper Cumberland can receive with an off-air antenna. Those who have an MVPD subscription can watch local stations in Nashville and Knoxville. But there are a great many people in Upper Cumberland who cannot afford a monthly cable bill. And there are still remote areas in the region where cable and broadband service simply doesn’t exist, Magura says.

“I know it’s hard for people who are sitting in Washington and urban areas to comprehend that people still need an antenna to be able to receive only one station, but it’s a fact,” Magura says.

From WVUE:
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