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Wisconsin Public Radio And Television Under Attack From Scott Walker

February 3, 2015

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plan unveiled Tuesday would slash $5 million from the board that operates public broadcasting over the next two years.   This idea is certainly not a new one in conservative Republican circles.  The idea for such cuts often circulate at the national level.   But regardless of where threats of such cuts come from there is one thing that is clear.  They must not be allowed to be implemented.

If you enjoy quality talk and news and the BBC on your local WPR station you need to be aware of what is happening in regards to this issue.  If you like to burrow into the topics of the day and have a full-fledged discussion on them and then walk away a better informed person this budget issue matters to you.  If you like to be entertained without being verbally insulted in the way AM radio all too often does this matter should be important to you.  If you like to laugh and smile and laugh some more with Michael Feldman this matters to you.  For many of us WPR is indispensable.

I know some Republican lawmakers like to paint public radio and television as liberal media outlets and think there is no reason state taxpayers should need to fund it.  What some conservatives label as ‘liberal’ is simply mystifying!  What the GOP politicians fail to recognize are the great number of people from both sides of the aisle who enjoy educational programming and delight in getting a full news report (NewsHour), full length documentaries (The Roosevelt’s), and video trips around the globe (Sahara with Michael Palin).   Such programming has merit because it lifts up our knowledge of the world and ourselves.  If that is what defines being liberal than bring it one in truckloads!

Meanwhile one can not say much about network evening programming.   How many CSI shows are there at the present time?  Who cares which person will be the next to be voted off some lame reality show?

Just last week I had one of my long phone chats with an aunt who lives in rural Wisconsin.  We have a habit of talking about everything so it was not a surprise when I mentioned Nature on PBS and how much James and I enjoy it.  Within a couple days I called her back with the time it would air on her local station.  My point is that there are a lot of people from all walks of life who make up the viewing audience for public radio and television.  They may not all have loud voices to register their support of public programming but they do value quality of the offerings over the airwaves.

While no children reside in our home I am well aware of the educational programming that makes a real difference in the lives of families with youngsters.   At a time when our state government has harmed education with cuts in addition to vilifying teachers it makes no sense to then also reduce one the of the ways parents can tap into presenting their children with powerful ways to learn about numbers and letters and a whole host of other issues.

I have no way to know if there has been any attempt by the Walker Administration to poll residents about this matter.  But I am most confident there are more viewers of Nova and Austin City Limits that are spread across both sides of the political divide than Walker cares to think about.  Which means this budget item is one designed more for a talking point as he deals with his case of Potomac Fever rather than a real bottom line issue in his budget.

But that should not make anyone who is concerned about this matter relax.

All who care about quality and insightful programming of the type provided by WPR and WPT needs to get active and get LOUD. I know the politics of this budget item is seemingly only for the optics Walker needs as he trots around the nation, but with the clowns in the statehouse who have power means we can not take anything for granted.

This is one issue that will remain front and center on this blog as we head into the grind of the budget process.

  1. Tom permalink
    February 4, 2015 9:59 AM

    One thing about me you would, perhaps, find strange is that if my radio is on, I’m usually listening to NPR. Therefore, I donate directly to WUWM. Simple. While I am aware of the quality associated with public broadcasting and have had many “driveway moments,” this does not mean that the government should contribute to it.There is no pressing need, or simple need, for the government to continue to fund national public radio or television. Technology makes these services increasingly irrelevant. If I want the BBC, for example, I have an app. I’m unaware of any public television of any value; it could be great, I just don’t watch much TV period.

    Here’s the bottom line: let the users pay for this service.

  2. February 3, 2015 9:31 PM

    Reblogged this on The New American Ideal and commented:
    divide and conquer

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