Public radio faces possibility of losing funding - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Public radio faces possibility of losing funding

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JACKSON CO. -- Thursday, the Trump Administration released a budget to fund the federal government for the coming fiscal year. The proposal includes elimination of all  funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

CPB funding makes up about 30 percent of WSIU's operating budget. Leaders there say losing it would be the end of many aspects of their service.

WSIU Radio and television has provided the area with free education for years.

Now, in the face of federal budget cuts, WSIU Executive Director Greg Petrowich will fight for the station once more.

"In the past, we've looked at it as an opportunity to make our story well known, to educate people about how important we are," said Petrowich.

The proposed cut end grant funding for favorite services like NPR, and programs like Sesame Street, Ready Jet Go and others.

"This is our opportunity to say, 'Okay, that's one way to do it, there are some other ways to do it, and here's what would happen if you make that cut,'" Petrowich added.

As our nation weighs choices about how to prioritize budget decisions, a national voter survey on support for Public Broadcasting rates 73 percent of voters support money for public television.

"That makes it not a painter's issue. If you have 70 percent of the country in favor of something, that's pretty strong support," Petrowich added.

He says the station's mission offers access to educational services to everyone.

"Maybe you live in a small house somewhere near the Shawnee Forest and over the air is the way your children watch and learn and get educational programming from PBS," he said.

Pitcher says the shows offer learning-based programming for more than kids. Entertainment programs in the evenings feature history and documentaries about the arts and culture.

WSIU also gives college students, hands-on learning.

"They're getting experience working at a real radio and television station. They're learning, taking things they learn in classroom, putting them to use at an actual broadcast facility that makes them better more responsible journalists when they get out in the field," said Petrowich.

Petrowich says to show support, you can write letters to Congress about how the important the programming is to you.

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