Proposed PBS Budget Cuts Will Hurt WOUB
Nationally, the Republican Party has made it clear that they plan on placing large cuts on social services.
At the state level, Republicans are ready to follow suit with Romney’s proposed cuts.
“In terms of Mitt Romney and what he said in the debate, we fully stand behind him, he’s our candidate,” said Ohio Republican Party’s Matthew Henderson.
Conversely, the Ohio Democratic Party has argued for public broadcasting funds to stay untouched.
“I think that public broadcasting and open access to airwaves is important to maintain the level of dialogue and access to media and press that we’ve been accustomed to,” said the Ohio Democratic Party’s Communication Director Jerid Kurtz.
To cut PBS, in Kurtz’s opinion, would be cutting and reducing our democracy.
Locally, the cuts would create problems for many rural areas such as Athens County that rely on public broadcasting as their main source of news.
One of these networks that could see major changesdue to cuts is Athens’ own WOUB. WOUB currently serves approximately 55 counties in three states – Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky – which are not well represented in major media markets such as Columbus or Charleston.
“My [WOUB’s] total budget is about $5 million a year; if I lose $ 1.3 million I don’t think I could make it up,” said WOUB Director Tom Hodson. “Some stations would definitely have to go off the air.”
Hodson added that cuts on a federal level to public broadcasting would also have a major impact on WOUB. If Romney’s plan would be enacted, according to Hodson, the cuts would be about 20 percent of WOUB’s operating budget.
“It should be noted that this is not a new angle. In Congress, many of the Tea Party people have notably been against public broadcasting and the CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting], claiming it has a liberal bias,” said Hodson.
Furthermore, the cuts would not even be a major solution to the deficit issue.
“This [public broadcasting] is a tiny fraction of the federal budget. It’s not appropriate to characterize it as a major portion of the federal budget when it is about .0001 percent of the total federal budget,” said Hodson.
The CPB, PBS, and NPR already rely on fundraising efforts to keep programming on the air, including WOUB, which runs an annual fall and spring telemarketing drive for its radio and TV mediums.
For people like Hodson, it’s easy to figure out who to support when it comes to discussing funding for public broadcasting. .
“[President Barack Obama] has been dedicated to preserving and protecting it [public broadcasting] from major cuts,” Hodson said. “He stood firm on that promise during the last budget cycle.”
Currently, the former Governor leads Obama by four points, according to the latest national Pew Center for Research poll.