State aid down $85 million in four years

In four years that include the deepening recession, fiscal 2008 through 2012, public broadcasting stations in 24 states have lost a total of $85 million in financial support from state governments, according to a study released last week by Free Press, a progressive media-reform group. Those states reduced spending on public media by 42 percent of their 2008 amount. Free Press, which has joined the defense of federal and state aid to public media, gave the study a timely release date, one week before the congressional Super Committee’s Nov. 23 [2011] deadline to cut vast sums from the federal budget and deficit. “As federal lawmakers are considering making further cuts to public broadcasting nationally, we wanted to make sure they understood the full picture of public broadcasting in their states,” said Josh Stearns, co-author of the study and associate program director of Free Press.

‘Restricted unrestricted’: a productive new flavor of grants at KPBS

“Blessed Be the Ties that Bind” may be music to churchgoers, but many station leaders find it discordant. No matter how much CEOs welcome the blessings of major gifts, they tend to start doubting if they find strings attached. Increasingly, big donors do attach conditions. Not all want to see their name on a building or a room, but they do want to see their gifts used for purposes that matter to them, even when giving to the operating fund. Donors give for their own reasons; the fact that a station needs “to pay the power bill,” as one CEO put it, tends to be less compelling than content about topics that matter to them.