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State subcommittee report misleads actual cuts to local public radio stations


Kyle Clayton / Petersburg Pilot

Ten Petersburg residents speak telephonically during the House Finance Committee's public hearing Wednesday evening. Most voiced views in support of retaining KFSK's state grant funding at a level that would ensure matching federal grants. Sue Erickson voiced her support for education spending and she also spoke on behalf of KFSK. "In the last month we've had an escaped prisoner, we've had the schools and the hospitals in lockdown mode, we've had trees that have been blown down on the highway," Erickson said. "These are safety issues that are imminent and we learned of these through the radio station. There's no television station here in our area and during the daytime hours the radio's the source of emergency and public safety broadcast." 

A state finance legislative subcommittee's proposal to cut 100 percent of state operating grants to public radio would mean job and service losses for KFSK.

According to a House Finance Budget Subcommittee narrative report, chaired by Rep. Lynn Gattis, "Between fundraising, federal revenues, advertising, and donations, the public broadcast budget approaches $13-$14 million annually, making this approximately a 20 percent reduction to the system," the report states.

"I believe her (Gattis') statement is misleading at best," KFSK general manager Tom Abbott said. "She's making it sound like t...

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