Sesame Street At Risk In Congress
House Cuts Funding For Public Broadcasting
Sesame Street and National Public Radio are at risk in Congress after the House cut funding for public broadcasting early Saturday. The bill was introduced by Colorado Springs Congressman Doug Lamborn.
"We have to start somewhere to get our fiscal house in order," said Lamborn. "And public broadcasting, as good as it might be with some of their programs, is a luxury we can no longer afford."
The government currently provides $430 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB provides support for PBS and NPR. Most public radio and TV stations get 10-15 percent of their budgets from federal funds, and rely on donations for the rest.
Public station KRCC in Colorado Springs gets about $140,000 from the feds, money it relies on to provide local and NPR programming.
"I think people have a really strong sense of what KRCC does in the community," said Delaney Utterback, general manager at the station. "I think they really, really like us, and it would be a shame if we had to cut back on what we can provide by losing our funding."
Utterback said losing government funding may mean program and staff cuts. He said other stations could be at risk of shutting down.
"Especially stations serving poor and rural communities," he said. "I think those stations would be the one really in peril."
PBS television stations would also be hurt if the bill becomes law.
"The effects would be far-reaching," said Amanda Mountain, the general manager of KTSC, the PBS station for Pueblo and Colorado Springs. "The public has spoken time and time again, and people find tremendous tax value in what we do."
Lamborn's efforts have led some to compare him to Oscar the Grouch. He told KRDO Newschannel13 that he doesn't believe his bill will necessarily shut down stations, it would just force them to work harder to stay in business.
"If they went out and sold advertising or got some wealthy donors, or whatever it took, they could get the support they needed," said Lamborn.
Lamborn's bill faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but he calls this weekend's vote a historic step. The bill has been introduced in the House before, but this is the first time it's passed.
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