Florida stations still struggling after May cut of state funding

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The Tampa Bay Times is looking back at a rough year for pubcasters in the state, after Gov. Rick Scott’s decision in May to veto nearly $4.8 million in state funding. Public TV stations lost more than $300,000 and each public radio station saw a $60,000 drop. All told, in the Tampa Bay area, WEDU, WMNF and WUSF radio and TV stations lost a total of around $1 million. “And while Tampa Bay area public broadcasting fans initially responded with a surge in donations,” the paper noted, “as the year wore on, local stations found themselves increasingly challenged to find new, permanent solutions to the funding dilemma.”

“The public, in times of emergency, comes through,” said Rob Lorei, WMNF’s news and public affairs director. “Now they don’t have that sense of urgency.” While the station’s first pledge drive after the cuts brought in more money, October’s fundraising fell $30,000 short.

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