Five States Face Public Broadcasting Cuts

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget would zero out state funding to Rhode Island PBS by 2014, and two bills in Oklahoma would remove state funding either next year or over the next five years, Current reports.

Meanwhile, Idaho is recommending a “no-growth” budget for Idaho Public Television and is considering removing transmitters in sparsely populated regions, Kansas nixed a bill that would have increased its public broadcasting funding, and state cuts in South Carolina that went into effect last year have taken their toll.

It’s not a pretty picture out there for public radio and TV.

The Rhode Island plan, if enacted, would take away $933,000, or a third of the station’s budget. Discussions, Current reports, continue.

State funding in Oklahoma has already dropped from $5.2 million in 2009 to $3.8 million this year; state funds now make up 41 percent of The Oklahoma Network’s (OETA’s) budget. According to OETA executive director John McCarroll, the network has already had to cut back on news production.

None of these threats are real yet—they still need to be voted on, signed into law, and so forth—except in South Carolina, where the broadcaster closed its office in Beaufort Feb. 2 and laid off two staffers. The office closure will save $180,000 a year.