Do without public broadcasting? No way!

Apr 11, 2017

Credit John Flavell

Editor’s note: The following editorial is used by permission by The Morehead News, online at: http://themoreheadnews.com

WMKY Radio, the flagship station of Morehead State Public Radio, signed on the air in 1965 with a mighty 10 watts of power from atop the Combs Building at Morehead State University.

Today, its 50,000-watt signal reaches across 20 counties of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

From its first day, MSPR has been a reliable, non-partisan source of news, information, and cultural programming, as well as a superb training ground for broadcast professionals across Kentucky and the U.S.

In addition to award-winning local programs, MSPR is a charter member of National Public Radio, a major source of national news and diverse political commentary.

However, today there are dark clouds in the future of MSPR.

Nine years of state budget reductions for public higher education have taken a toll on MSU, resulting in staffing and programming cuts at MSPR.

With only four full-time staff members, MSPR has become even more dependent on student interns, part-time student workers and community volunteers.

Public gift support of MSPR has declined in recent years, adding to its financial woes. That becomes a two-edged sword because some of its other funding is tied to the level of private giving locally.

The outlook for public radio networks operated by universities took an ominous turn recently when Northern Kentucky University sold its five stations to a religious broadcaster.

The second danger facing public radio is the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), provider of major funding of public radio and television.

Republican conservatives in Congress have long opposed the CPB, accusing it of subsidizing news coverage with a liberal bias.

Without CPB funding and a recovery of some of its lost local support from MSU and donors, MSPR might find itself on the auction block.

In our opinion, losing East Kentucky’s first and finest public radio station would be a tragedy for the university, for the students it trains and for those of us who live in the listening area.

We must not let that happen.

(story courtesy of The Morehead News, online at: http://themoreheadnews.com)