WKMS Station Manager Kate Lochte on Federal Funding

Feb 25, 2011

Murray, KY – WKMS Station Manager Kate Lochte has an update on federal funding for public media:

As you are most likely aware, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1, the Continuing Budget Resolution that eliminates federal funding for public broadcasting. We anticipated this outcome and have already implemented a strategy to preserve federal funding for public service media as the bill heads into the Senate. Early next week the Senate will begin work on its version of the bill.

The good news is that our audiences are engaged. Public broadcasting's 200,000+ advocates sent more than 170,000 emails and made thousands of calls to Congress through the 170 Million Americans website. Congressional offices said that the phones were ringing off the hook - one office reported more than 1,000 calls in support of public broadcasting in a single day. These calls will make a big difference when the House considers the compromise bill coming out of conference committee.

The vote in the House highlights the importance of individual contributions in support of WKMS's public service mission. Irrespective of whether you think federal support for public broadcasting is a good thing or a bad thing, the message from Washington, DC, is simple: if you listen to public radio then you should support public radio. If you've never made a contribution to WKMS before, I hope you will do that right away. If you're already a supporter, I hope you'll take this opportunity to make an additional gift to ensure the quality and depth of WKMS's public service programming.

We've put a link to 170millionamericans.org on wkms.org, where there's also a secure pledge site. While you're there, look at the programming our small, but powerful team has produced for you in just the last few weeks: a one-hour special feature on the Chinese community in Murray, Kentucky and an ongoing series of Kentucky Civil War Dispatches in addition to the month-long series of strong national documentaries that have traced the fight for civil rights in our country.

Coming up soon you'll be hearing performances from the choruses of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra as well as the Concert Choir of Murray State University. You'll hear the Brilliant concert of the Paducah Symphony recorded February 19th. We're also planning to bring you excerpts from a recent WKCTC Arts in Focus concert featuring the Acoustikats, Prime Rib and Concordia.

Federal funding is critical for public broadcasting, allowing local public radio and television stations to provide educational services, in-depth news and public affairs programming, and world-class cultural content. Without the investment of this funding, many public radio and television stations across the country will be forced to go silent. For seven straight years the Roper Poll has found public broadcasting to be Americans' most-trusted source of news and information, the best use of federal funding after national defense.

Public media, that is public television and public radio and their respective online resources, is on a long list of entities in jeopardy. We stand alongside The U.S. Coast Guard, Clean Coal Technology, WIC, the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, The Forest Service, Job Corps, the National Writing Project, FAA Operations, the National Park Service and more. We're on the list with The Kennedy Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Library of Congress, EPA, FEMA, and the National Science Foundation. Website 170millionamericans.org gives perspective to public media's inclusion on this list. Public broadcasting is more essential than ever now to bring to light a clear public understanding of how we as a nation address how to cut our deficit.

Thank you for listening and for caring deeply about this station which some of you have nurtured along for 40 years, believing in its opening a window on the world for our region. For WKMS, I'm Kate Lochte.