Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some borrowed (with permission) thoughts on Governor McDonald's call to de-fund public broadcasting . . .


  1. "some value"

    How many of the radio reading services for the blind in Virginia are connected to a public radio station? How will cuts in funds to the states public radio stations affect the radio reading services connected to those stations? How will this effect the visually impaired citizens of Virginia who rely on those radio reading services for local information.

    I would say the value is more than "some" as the governor has suggested.

  2. Tom DuVal, WMRA General ManagerDecember 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    There are five radio reading services (RRS) in Virginia, each carried on a public radio station. Some, like WMRA's Valley Voice, are operated by the station, with overhead support from the station, and the help of dozens of volunteers. Some are independent organizations that partner with the local radio station.

    All five services get a grant from the state, separate from the Community Service Grants to the stations.

    We received a $24,000 grant for Valley Voice this year, down almost a third from two years ago. The grant is used to pay part of the salary and benefits of the Valley Voice Director.

    We do not yet know whether the Governor's funding elimination plan includes the RRS grants. I asked the Secretary of Education, Gerard Robinson, who said he would have someone check and get back to me. No word yet.

    If we lose the state RRS funding, WMRA will have to absorb the cost...which of course will be that much harder when we lose the station funding as well.

    By law we have to provide some form of RRS. It could come from elsewhere, but then it would no longer provide readings of the many local newspapers in our service area. That would defeat the purpose of having the RRS - helping the print-impaired to stay informed about their community.