Funding Cut for Florida Public Broadcasting, Increased for Florida Channel

“We have a few minutes left, I think we can take a call from Stuart...”

The on-air topic of the day here at WFSU...how to avoid going bust.

“There are many considerations to filing for bankruptcy.”

Ironically, the off-air topic isn't all that different. The station's trying to figure out how to get by now that Governor Scott's cut the entire $4.5 million public broadcasting budget. It's all part of his goal of bringing government down to size.

“For years, politicians have not dared to face the full extent of our financial problems,” Gov. Scott said. “Politics prevailed, even when the numbers did not add up.”

Up and down the state, Big Bird could be in big danger of being grounded. If only he worked for a different T.V. outlet, namely the one covering Governor Scott and Florida lawmakers.

While every public T.V. station's getting $300,000 less, the Florida Channel's getting $430,000 more.

“They've labeled public broadcasting as a tool of the liberal left.”

Former state representative Curtis Richardson is echoing the views of many in the broadcasting community in calling the deal unfair. With the Florida Channel covering republican-dominated state government, he says politics are at play.

“What the governor has done, where he's cut funding for public broadcasting, he's boosted funding for The Florida Channel, which of course highlights what Republicans are doing in the Legislature, and obviously, his office.”

“We really do have to caveat this...”

The extra money is intended primarily for the Florida Channel's coverage of two dozen special statewide hearings on redistricting, but in a tight budget year critics complain not even that is essential.

So while the show goes on here at the capitol, back at WFSU the dial may have to be turned back.

The state's public broadcasters are still evaluating exactly what they'll do to make ends meet. Some plan to launch aggressive fundraising campaigns, while others say they have no choice but to cut back on programming.


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