When you talk with public radio people about public funding, you notice there’s a certain schizophrenia.
When The Legislature Isn’t In Session: “It’s wrong to call us “Government Radio”; there really isn’t that much public funding! It’s not all that important…”
When The Legislature Is In Session And Cuts Are Proposed: “Write your legislator to help prevent massive cuts to the programmig you depend on!”
Congress is talking about cutting $4 million from MPR’s subsidy.
Lots of money? Sure – enough to keep my station, AM1280, going for years. And that amounts (according to Gary Eichten on the air yesterday) to 5% of MPR’s operating budget.
Has your budget dropped by 5% in the past year?
UPDATE: At least one wag on Twitter said I was “comparing MPR to AM1280 The Patriot”. Well, that’s ludicrous. There’s no comparison.
Ed and I are better much interviewers than Keri Miller.
Hopefully we’ve put that to rest.
OK, seriously? (I am serious about Miller, but it’s not my real point); I am an MPR News fan. They come closer than most to approaching the news from a fair perspective. They work fairly diligently to balance their coverage. I’m not going to beat them over the head with the partisan stick (much as the likes of Keillor, or the loathsome “On the Media”, or National Public Radio, deserve it, especially in the wake of the Juan Williams fiasco).
Still, if losing their entire federal subsidy equals five percent of the nut, it seems less than unreasonable, in an environment where schools and the Pentagon and people in need are being asked to cut back, to stop considering MPR’s federal subsidy a sacred cow.