A new House bill aiming to cut federal funding for public radio stations may have devastating effects for ACU-owned public radio station, KACU.
The new bill would seek control over how money given to public radio stations across the nation by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is spent.
It also prohibits public radio stations from buying any programming from a national source, like National Public Radio, with the funding they do receive from the CPB.
It would create an estimated job loss of roughly 9,000 people, John Best, director of broadcast operations at KACU, said.
“If it were to pass like it is right now, it would be a devastating blow to public radio and public television all over the United States,” Best said.
KACU runs on an average of $450,000 a year. It spends about $100,000 per year of that cost on programming alone, Best said.
ACU provides a quarter of KACU’s funding, Best said. The Abilene community provides half through underwriting and memberships and CPB is responsible for the remaining quarter.
Best said that losing so much of its funding would definitely cause KACU to have to cut its programming.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon, JMC department chair and professor, said that the current debate is not just about money. Republicans in the House argue that NPR programming is more liberal than conservative.
NPR currently receives only 2 percent of its funding from the federal government. Out of the entire federal budget, only a small fraction of a percent funds public broadcasting, Bacon said.
“The thing that’s very frightening,” Bacon said, “is any time either party, or people who subscribe to any political viewpoint, choose to use political power to squelch the voices that are different than their own; I think that is a negative thing.”
Bacon said the Republicans in the House may not understand that a vast majority of the stories covered by CPB are not political stories. It covers the arts and all kinds of events around the world that are not necessarily liberal or conservative.
“KACU is a really important part of this community,” Bacon said, “It would be very unfortunate if an ideological debate in Washington shut that down.”