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The selection last month of a Republican political operative to help “diversify” and “balance” the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority is being viewed with alarm by those of us who keep radios tuned to the left end of the dial.

Gov. Jim Justice’s first pick to serve on the board overseeing the state’s public radio and television operations was Greg Thomas, who has represented numerous GOP candidates in mostly successful campaigns for state and national offices.

Near the top of Thomas’s client list is Don Blankenship, for whom he ran the “And for the Sake of the Kids” political action committee in 2004. The PAC channeled nearly $3 million of the coal baron’s money into a negative ad blitz that succeeded at both installing Blankenship’s pick for Supreme Court justice and providing the inspiration for a John Grisham novel.

The state’s public television and radio system has already come under fire in the Senate, where the leadership attempted to eliminate all funding for the authority earlier this year.

This month, due to term expirations on the authority board, it will be possible for the governor to name replacements for all remaining appointed positions, raising concerns about “stacking” the panel to bring about a shift in direction for the state’s public television and radio operations.

If major changes are in store for WVPB, here’s hoping they won’t include:

Mall Things Considered — Former afternoon radio news show changes format to keep commuters informed about trending items for sale at retail centers across the state.

AR Talk — A pair of cheerful, talkative West Virginia gunsmiths discuss the AraLite-15 and other popular sporting rifle semiautomatics with callers from across the state.

Antique Roads Show — State Division of Highways engineers travel the state to appraise repair costs for severely worn roads and bridges suggested by viewers.

The Splendid Cable — Call-in show for viewers who want to learn more about, or share opinions regarding, programming available from private sector sources.

Morning Sedition — Spend your morning commute catching up on the latest rants about stolen elections, the Deep State, false flag operations, climate change denial and COVID-19 myths.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5169 or follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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