Alaska governor’s draft budget zeros out pubmedia funding

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Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed a budget Wednesday that would eliminate funding to 27 public media stations statewide.

Those stations received a total of $2.7 million this fiscal year, the same as FY18. Additional funding for a state-owned satellite service and an LPTV service for 185 rural Alaskan communities brings annual support to just under $3.5 million, Alaska Public Broadcasting Executive Director Mollie Kabler told Current.

As a senator, Dunleavy proposed eliminating public broadcasting funding, Kabler said. “The difference here is … the governor’s budget is at zero,” she said. That’s never happened before, she said.

Dunleavy’s budget seeks deep reductions across agencies to counter the state’s $1.6 billion deficit. “Since there are so many cuts proposed, it’s a bigger challenge to make our case than ever before,” Kabler said. “We will be in competition with the 25 percent cut to education and the 44 percent cut to the University of Alaska.”

Kabler said “government services are a very big part of our economy” for the 750,000 residents of the state.

A Dunleavy spokesperson told Anchorage NBC affiliate KTUU that “funding will continue to exist for public broadcasting from federal, local, tribal, and private entities.”

Keep up on the latest developments in state funding for public broadcasting with Current’s comprehensive guide.

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