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“Public Media Needs You”

8/3/2023

What the?

Tuesday August 1st, 2023
From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt

Once again public media is becoming a political lightning rod. Yep, you got that right, something that costs tax payers $3.16 each annually is getting hauled, just like they did with our pal Big Bird, to the town square and is at risk of being defunded. The US handily passed a Defense Budget with bipartisan support and we barely blink an eye. Per 2021 numbers, that Defense budget runs around $2,149.00 per person per year. Hmmm.

Last Thursday, July 27th, we got some good news. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved two bills that preserve federal funding for public media. This is a direct result of advocates who showed up at these hearings and contacted their Senators to support continued support for public/community media. In September The House Appropriations Committee will consider legislation that defunds public media, and other vital Federal programs.

This good news is uplifting, but it is truly concerning that this critical funding for independent media outlets is under fire.

Our Federally elected officials are on recess, and spending time in their districts. This is a GREAT time to let them know that you care about funding of public media. Check out Protect My Public Media and learn how you can engage!

I’ll give you some context. KWMR receives about 30% of our operating budget from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is significant, and would put this particular station in a very difficult situation if funding is rescinded. We could try to make up that type of funding in other ways, but we would likely be cutting staff, so how would we do that? I guess we would do less with less. That would be a sad situation.

Receiving and keeping this funding is not a given. KWMR has remained eligible since entering the Community Service Grant program in 2007. The station has to prove that we raise over $300,000 of Non Federal Financial Support (NFFS) in cash or in-kind contributions. The station must also go through a full audit each year in order to stay in compliance, and we account for every cent of that CPB money. This is to say that 

Many of the stations that receive support are rural, Native, and or at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). KWMR falls into the rural category. If you have the time and the inclination, reach out to our elected officials and tell them how much you appreciate local community media. Tell them your stories, some of which you shared with me last week, about why you love independent, community media! Thank you!

Moon.   photo: Pexels

And look at that? It’s already August 1st! And bonus for everyone, it is also a full moon tonight, the second of four supermoons this summer. It’s called a Sturgeon Moon because traditionally the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this part of the summer. Learn something new every day! The Blue Moon is coming up on August 30. 

Amanda Eichstaedt 
Station Manager and Executive Director 

p.s. Speaking of “what the…” We are pretty sad about what has happened to Twitter in terms of the embedded and updated agency feeds on the KWMR emergency page. Mr. Musk seems to have effed things up pretty badly over there at X. : (

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