Monday, June 13, 2005
North Coast: KEET Keeps Eye On Congress
A House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education has voted to reduce federal funding for public broadcasting and to eliminate all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting within two years, according to The Washington Post. The Post reported Friday that that cut would begin with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.
KEET-TV Executive Director Ron Schoenherr said in an interview that "would be devastating to a station the size of KEET." Schoenherr, a veteran of public broadcasting for about 40 years, said, "I have been through this before." He said that traditionally, when a measure of this sort gets through the House, it goes to the Senate where the money is put back into the bill.
Schoenherr said federal funds are about 46 percent of KEET's $1.4 million budget. "The smaller the market, the more the station depends on federal support," he said. To eliminate 46 percent of his budget, he said, would mean the station would lose about $640,000.
KEET just finished its summer auction. Schoenherr said that the two annual auctions -- the other is in November -- bring in about $90,000. The station also puts on an annual wine gala in May and pledge programs in March. The wine gala, he said, brings in about $35,000, but much of that is eaten up by costs, such as for catering, advertising and administration. "We have the annual Duck Race in the bay, which is really a fun event that doesn't bring in a lot of money, it's a family event and that's what it's about. In general, people have been extremely supportive of the station in its 38 years," he said.