Meetings in Washington give KEET leader cause for ‘cautious optimism’

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The executive director of California’s KEET is “cautiously optimistic” about the struggling station’s future after meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and CPB executives.

The public TV station in Eureka is falling short of the $800,000 it must raise in nonfederal financial support to receive a Community Service Grant from CPB. KEET has never met the requirements but has received the grant under waivers. CPB tightened rules on granting consecutive waivers in fiscal year 2017.

KEET’s David Gordon met with CPB leaders Jan. 14 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the station’s future. “I had a good, productive meeting with CPB,” Gordon told Current, adding that he could not comment further.

Gordon wrote in Eureka’s Times-Standard in December that CPB was pressuring KEET into a merger. He told the newspaper in a story published Saturday that after meeting with CPB leaders, he’s more optimistic about the situation. CPB spokesperson Letitia King said in the story that the meeting was “constructive.”

Gordon has spoken with leaders of other stations in similar financial straits, he told the newspaper. “Some stations have gone dark. Some have merged with other entities. Some have found the way to meet that $800,000 goal,” he said. “We’re not the only ones who are or who have been in this situation.” Gordon said the station is routinely about $150,000 under its annual NFFS minimum.

While in Washington, Gordon also met with lawmakers including Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).  A spokesperson for Huffman told the newspaper that about 515 constituents contacted the lawmaker’s office over the past year to express support for continued CPB funding for KEET.

“I’ve been talking to KEET about this for several years now,” Huffman told the newspaper. “Certainly, I am standing ready to do whatever I can to urge the CPB to be flexible and to urge as much community support for KEET as I can.”

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