Report: $85M-Plus Cut From Public Media in 24 States

Washington -- Twenty-four states have cut more than $85
million in funding to public media, according to a new report from Free Press.

According to On theChopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media,
four states -- Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania -- have cut
their entire state appropriation for public broadcasting.

Public media still receives federal funding, despite efforts
from some lawmakers -- mainly Republicans -- to phase that money out as well.

In addition, public outlets in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine
and South Carolina have all been threatened by multiyear phase-outs.

Almost $30 million in funds for public broadcasting was cut
from state budgets in the last year.

 "Public broadcasters
are being expected to weather enormous cuts that are way out of line with
reductions in state budgets," Free Press associate program director Josh
Stearns said in a statement. Stearns, who co-authored the study with graduate
research fellow Mike Soha, said that most state budgets are being cut by single
digits, while funding for public broadcasting is facing "dramatic
double-digit cuts, when they aren't being gutted altogether."

 "This suggests
that many of these cuts are being made to score political points, not to
balance budgets," Stearns said.

Many Republicans have argued that government money for
public broadcasting is essentially going to fund their liberal critics.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.