Oct 25, 2010 10:15 PM by Zach Thaxton
A bill introduced by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) that would cut taxpayer funding of public broadcasting is gaining traction in the wake of the firing of a National Public Radio news analyst, but local public broadcasters say they need the funding and will suffer without it.
House Bill 5538, introduced in June by the representative from Colorado's 5th Congressional District which includes Colorado Springs, would cut all federal taxpayer funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after 2012, according to a press release sent from Lamborn's Washington, D.C. office. $420 million of taxpayer money will go to the CPB in 2010. "In this day of trillion-dollar deficit, I don't think we have the luxury of having government-subsidized broadcasting," Lamborn told News First 5 on Monday.
The CPB is the parent company of PBS and National Public Radio. Juan Williams was fired from NPR last week for comments he made on the Fox News Channel regarding being nervous when seeing people in Muslim attire on airplanes since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. A public outcry of opposition to the firing caused some to call for a defunding of the CPB. Lamborn says that although he believes the CPB has a liberal bias, he would call for the defunding anyway. "When NPR and the Coroporation for Public Broadcasting were first initiated, the thought was that there were only a few choices available and there needed to be another choice that the government would subsidize," Lamborn explained. "That day is long gone. We have literally hundreds of choices available."
Lamborn says he enjoys much of the programming on public broadcasting stations. "If they're putting out a quality product, they can survive and they can compete in the open marketplace," he said, "and I think they would do fine, I think they would thrive."
The CPB receives about 13 percent of its funding from taxpayers. Some of that money makes its way to local public broadcasters in the form of grants. KRCC-FM in Colorado Springs receives about $135,000 annually from the CPB. "Losing 10 percent of our budget, which is what the case would be at KRCC, would be a pretty hard blow," says KRCC General Manager Delaney Utterback. KTSC-TV in Pueblo is the Southern Colorado affiliate for Rocky Mountain PBS, based in Denver. "Less than 10 percent of our budget is from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting," explains Amanda Mountain, regional director of Rocky Mountain PBS. "The remainder comes from community support."
Lamborn hopes Congress will begin working on his bill in January.