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March 18, 2011 at 3:13pm

KPLU staying strong in the face of uncertainty

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The other morning while listening to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" on KPLU, and a story regarding the Libyan hoopla, I was struck by a muse: will my children be able to listen to this?  Or will my children have to choose between Clear Channel or Fox News with Uncle Bill O'Riley in lieu of the greatest legitimate highbrow liberal media outlet (at least produced on this content) this nearing socialist has ever heard?

The thought had been waxing and waning though my noggin for a while now. With the federal budget tightening on everything other than essential functions it is hard to believe that some of the Right Wing nut jobs won't achieve in taking "Bird Note," "Car Talk," or "This American Life" away from the people.

I shot off an email to the KPLU's General Manager Paul Stankavich asking his opinion on the impact of the possibility of federal cuts.  Mr. Stankavich noted that if federal funding was removed "...our reduced services would very likely be noticed by the public." 

For this little leftist that could mean all sorts of no-good.  Would KPLU revert back to the limited schedule it held prior to 1985?  Will I have to turn elsewhere to hear the music of John Pizzarelli? Who knows, but it doesn't look good. While my interview with Pizzarelli was earlier this week, the U.S. House voted today to cut funding of National Public Radio and its affiliate stations. The bill is not expected to make it through the Senate, however. It is all yet unknown to what the true impact will be. 

I've read in the Washington Post direct federal funding for NPR only accounts for two-percent of their overall budget.  So, two-percent ... What the big deal?  The two-percent figure doesn't take into account that member stations, like KPLU, are funded primarily though federal grants, underwriters and fundraising. The largest portion of which is the federal money.  Without this funding many of the NPR affiliate stations will be forced to make major changes. 

KPLU has a large base of operation in the Puget Sound and will prevail, though the programming may have to change.  Other smaller station may not be so lucky and might have to close if the axe really, truly does come down. 

As for state money, it has been four years since a grant was issued to KPLU by Washington.  Mr. Stankavich adds, "We do not foresee any potential for seeking state funds in the immediate future."

I know I will be forlorn without the calm serenade of "Evening Jazz" as I drive down I-5.   But it might still be year before our KPLU goes by the wayside.  Mr. Stankavich assured me earlier this week, "We continue to seek to forestall any cuts to public broadcasting and our listeners (and viewers for public TV) are working hard to try and convince congress that these cuts will be damaging to the public broadcasting system." 

Though it is not a solid affirmation, I'll take comfort in it.  Our children have a fighting chance of being able to sip their decaf soy what-have-you and listen to the news of the day from a great local station.

Filed under: Radio, Tacoma,

Comments for "KPLU staying strong in the face of uncertainty" (1)

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Darcie Mae said on Mar. 19, 2011 at 1:09pm

I hope children also remember what books are, remember how exciting is to pick up a book and just can't put it down unless you finish it, remember to that special someone who read you a story and acted out the parts, and remember what is't like to wait anxiously in bed for that bedtime story to be read to you.

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