Local Public Broadcasting Station at Risk; KEET Could Close Without Support
By Valerie Eachus and Ron Schoenherr
In recent weeks you may have seen spots featuring the President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System
speaking to viewers about the importance of their support
to their local public television station and to the long-term
future of PBS.
You may have wondered why such a message was necessary, and why now. The reasons are perhaps not unexpected. The recent recession and the loss of members and community funding throughout the country have caught up to public television and to our local PBS station, KEET-TV.
KEET-TV is one of the smallest PBS stations in the nation.
Like most PBS stations it is funded in part by Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is allocated funding by Congress and distributes these funds to both PBS stations and public radio stations. In order to receive any CPB funding, all public television stations are required to raise $800,000 each year from their viewers and communities.
No matter the size, it is this funding that is identified as Non-Federal Financial Support (NFFS). That money comes from memberships, pledge nights, auctions, corporate underwriting of programs, major donations, board fundraising and special events, non-federal grants, gifts of stock, grants from foundations, non-federal grants, our Ready To Learn Vehicle Donation Program and bequests.
Our station has not been able to raise the $800,000 and CPB is requiring that KEET-TV explore either a merger with another California station, enter into some form of a collaboration or partnership with another station or come up with a viable plan to ensure that the $800,000 of NFFS can be raised each year, if it is to receive funding in the fall.
It is clear that KEET-TV is at risk of no longer being able to receive CPB funding in the future and that would mean an end to KEET-TV as you see it today.
In a merger KEET would lose the ability to produce local programming like North Coast Perspectives, the award winning documentary Searchlight Serenade, HomeWork Hotline, the Humboldt County League of Women Voters’ candidate forums, our Ready To Learn early childhood project, Exploring Humboldt and other local productions.
Over the past few years KEET-TV has raised an average of $570,000 -$600,000 in NFFS funds annually from the people and communities we serve. We can only reach that $800,000 annual NFFS level through an increase in our community support.
We can reach that goal through increasing our membership numbers from our current level of 2400 to 4400, increase our underwriting support from the business community, and seek out more non-federal grants.
We will need to demonstrate by June 30 an increase in our community support or a merger with another station will be the result.
How can you help? If you are not a member of KEET-TV, join
today. If you are a business owner consider being an underwriter
or join KEET with a business membership. Consider KEET in your
estate planning or donate a few shares of stock.
If you are not a member, join today by calling the station at 445-0813 or sign up online at www.keet.org.
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Valerie Eachus is board president and Ron Schoenherr is executive director of KEET-TV.
Please pass this onto others you know. We support public access, alternative news, and local programming for our rural area. Please pitch in and support our local television station bringing us many of the programs we enjoy. We do.
It will be a dark day for media and information on the Northcoast should KEET close its doors and send its employees home with pink slips. Any contribution, no matter how small, by way of membership, donation, underwriting, bequests, or through their Spring auction happening tonight and tomorrow, helps.
(Posted by Skippy Massey)