Shop Talk - February 28
The panelists discuss proposals in several states to reduce or eliminate funding for public broadcasting.
The public media magazine Current reports such funding cuts are being discussed in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Idaho, and Kansas. In addition, there has been talk about slashing funding for Iowa Public Television.
The panelists point out some of those states are largely rural. Less populated areas could end up being underserved if they lose public broadcasting. Those regions depend on government assistance to fund public broadcasting - there are not enough potential listeners in those areas to support the service.
In addition, public broadcasting often provides more public affairs and local news programming than commercial stations. Public broadcasting theoretically plays an important role in democracy by ensuring there is an informed electorate - though perhaps some politicians don't want voters to be knowledgeable.
Public broadcasting is not subject to corporate or commercial influences, though the panelists say funding for it has become increasingly politicized over the years.