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Montana Public Radio Could Lose $240,000 Annually With Trump Budget Cuts

photo courtesy of MTPR
MTPR Eric Whitney

When President Donald Trump released his proposed federal budget this week, the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was cut to zero, which translates to a loss of about $240,000 for Montana Public Radio.

Director of Broadcast Media at the University of Montana, Ray Eckness, said on Friday, that his budget would be cut by about 10 percent.

“A lot of that money goes to pay for our national programs,” Eckness said. “If this cut were to go forward, then that would be a big blow to our national programming. Right now, 72 percent of our budget is raised through our listeners and from sponsors. While the 10 percent blow would hurt us, we would have to make some serious changes. It could be national or local, we might have to cut down on the amount of news we’re doing, everything would have to be in play.”

Eckness said some very popular nationally-broadcast programs might have to be eliminated.

“We pay for programs such as ‘All Things Considered’, ‘Morning Edition’, the BBC News that’s on overnight and again at 12:30 in the afternoon, he said. “We pay for American Public Media programs such as ‘This American Life’, and ‘A Prairie Home Companion’, these are all programs we pay for. We’re part of the network that allows us to run those, but we still have to pay for those programs.”

Eckness is looking at which programs he would have to eliminate in a worst-case scenario.

“It’s pretty scary,” said Eckness. “Where do we cut? Do we cut national programs? People love that national news. It’s well-respected, one of the most trusted in the country, and locally, our news people are well-respected and trusted, as well.”

Eckness emphasized the point that the budget plan was just released this week.

“It’s a blueprint for what Congress is going to look at,” he said. “Both CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and NPR (National Public Radio) folks say this is just the start of a long trail in Washington. We believe we have people in place who are friends to National Public Radio where those funds may get put back in.”

Trump’s budget also calls for elimination of all federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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