We had a good discussion last night over what to do about Joe Manchin. It’s worth noting in context of that conversation that the other statewide elected Democrat, Governor Jim Justice, is the type of Democrat who zeroes out state funding of public television and radio. Half of West Virginia’s public broadcasting comes from the state. What is the upshot of this?
But if state funding is completely eliminated, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the state of West Virginia stand to lose much of those matching funds – hurting our economy even more.
Many of our costs are fixed (programming, tower leases, electricity.) This state cut would translate into layoffs of up to 75 percent of our staff, which would endanger our ability to operate.
These proposed cuts are even more damaging because the Justice Administration did not consult anyone at West Virginia Public Broadcasting for advice. Currently, there is no transition plan for WVPB.
Eliminating all state funding endangers our ability to provide PBS Kids programming to low-income children who need it the most. WVPB’s main PBS channel provide 67 hours per week of educational children’s programming. And the station just launched a new 24/7 PBS Kids Channel.
The elimination of funding also hurts more than 6,000 educators and homeschoolers who depend on videos and curricula on our West Virginia Learning Media website.
This budget also eliminates all funding for WVPB’s Mountain Stage, West Virginia’s calling card to the world. More than 13,000 people attended a Mountain Stage concert in West Virginia last year, leading to more than $1 million in direct economic impact.
What does the Governor’s proposed elimination of all funding for Mountain Stage save? $300,000.
None of which is to say that you can’t try to primary Manchin if you want. But I’d like to see at least the tiniest bit of evidence that West Virginia voters are interested in any candidate who is not a right-winger from either party before we commit resources to it.