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Proposed Trump budget would cut funds for WV Public Broadcasting

KENNY KEMP | Gazette-Mail file photo
Scott Finn, executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, points to a map of the towers in the WVPB network.

Facing possible reduction or elimination of $4.6 million of state funding — about 45 percent of its total annual budget — West Virginia Public Broadcasting got a bit more bad news with President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

While elimination of the approximately $450 million line item for the CPB would affect programming available to public television and public radio, since a sizable portion of that appropriation goes to produce programming for PBS and NPR, the direct impact on WVPB would not be immediately devastating.

WVPB currently gets $1.3 million a year of federal funding, dedicated to equipment purchases or upgrades.

That’s about 13 percent of the total current operating budget of about $10 million.

WVPB executive director Scott Finn confirmed Thursday the $1.3 million figure, but said he could not discuss budget issues at length with reporters.

While the CPB is one of multiple federal agencies targeted under the $1.1 trillion of spending cuts proposed in Trump’s budget plan, the agency has survived past attempts to zero out its funding.

As a recent Washington Post article pointed out, Republican presidents from as far back Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan have tried to eliminate or drastically cut funding for the CPB, which was created under the Johnson administration in 1967.

It notes that President George W. Bush zeroed out funding for CPB in all eight budget plans he proposed, while during his two terms as president, CPB funding actually increased by 13 percent.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1220, or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

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