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A Message From Our CEO

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As you know, with the change in leadership in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 20th came reports of plans to cut funding to a number of federal programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and public broadcasting.  An article was published by The Hill late last week that reports on budget proposals being drafted by then President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. The article mentions a proposal to “privatize” the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB funds public radio and TV stations), among a long list of other proposed cuts.  Because of this development I wanted to take a minute and let you know that this has not caught us by surprise and we are fully engaged in conversations with our colleagues in Washington to keep funding at current levels.

There is no doubt that public broadcasting is highly valued and beloved by millions of Americans, including many influential Members of Congress, thought leaders and policy makers. Talk of cutting federal funding is nothing new, which is why Pat Butler, President and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations and our colleagues at APTS have developed continually growing bipartisan support over the last many years. In fact, the Republican House and the Republican Senate proposed full funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting during the last two sessions of Congress.

Here at Lakeshore Public Media, 17% of our current annual operating budget comes from the federal government.  We do have a great supporter in Vice President Mike Pence. Our colleagues at Indiana Public Broadcasting were pleased to have the opportunity to visit with then Governor Pence just before Christmas which gave us the chance to thank him again for his support of state funding for Indiana’s Public Broadcasting Stations during his term as Governor.  He assured us that he remains a “Champion of public broadcasting” and believes in what we do and knows of our importance to so many people. He said he would do all he can to support public broadcasting. We are hoping that the Vice President will speak to APTS member stations when we convene in Washington, D.C. on February 27-29 when PBS and NPR station personnel will share our case for support with our Members of Congress.

At the same time, it seems everything has changed these days and we recognize the threats regarding federal funding cannot be taken lightly. There very well could be a need for engagement of our grass roots supporters.  We will keep you posted as we learn more.  Right now, we are engaging the right people in appropriate conversations to ensure that funding will continue to be there well into the future.

Thanks for all you do to make our programs and service to the community so impactful. I look forward to keeping you updated with future developments as the legislative process continues.  I’m concluding with a statement from Pat Butler, President and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations:

“Proposals like this one have been circulating around Washington for years and have been soundly rejected on a bipartisan basis, including a 132-294 rejection by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2015. A recent national survey of 2,000 self-identified Trump voters confirmed that a majority of those voters support level or increased federal funding for public broadcasting. As Governor of Indiana, Vice President-elect Pence put money in his own State budget to support public broadcasting, and he accepted our Champion of Public Broadcasting award in 2014. The Government Accountability Office, following a comprehensive study, concluded there is no viable private substitute for the federal funding that ensures universal access to public broadcasting’ programming and services, especially in the heartland of America where President-elect Trump’s support was particularly strong. We look forward to working with the new Administration and the new Congress in the continued pursuit of our public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership, which the American people overwhelmingly support.”

Thanks again for your support of Lakeshore Public Media in service to the community.

Thank you,

James Muhammad
CEO of Lakeshore Public Media

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