[Vision2020] UI KUID Public TV May Shut Down Due to Lack of Funding

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Wed Jan 13 17:17:40 PST 2010

TV station could be victim of budget cuts

Holly Bowen
January 13, 2010
*Moscow-Pullman Daily News*

Idaho Public Television's Moscow station could close within the year if the
Idaho Legislature approves the lean state budget Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter
proposed Monday.

IdahoPTV is administered by the Idaho State Board of Education and receives
about $1.6 million in state general funds each year - about 25 percent of
its total revenue.

Otter's proposed budget would steadily cut the agency's state-funded budget
by $400,000 each year for four years, said Peter Morrill, general manager of

"The governor's proposal is essentially to move Idaho Public Television into
a market-based system," said Ron Pisaneschi, IdahoPTV's director of content.

Kris Freeland, station manager of KUID in Moscow, said Morrill told staffers
the Moscow and Pocatello studios, in addition to some rural translators,
could be closed within the year if the funding is cut.

That would leave IdahoPTV's Boise studio, KAID, to stay afloat with private
donations. Morrill said about 82 percent of the station's individual,
corporate and foundation donations originate in southwestern Idaho.

"What (money) you raise and where you raise it is going to mean whether or
not you can give that service or not," he said.

He said transmitters in the Coeur d'Alene, Treasure Valley and Idaho Falls
areas would likely be sustainable with private dollars from large population

But transmitters in Moscow and Twin Falls and translators in rural areas -
with the exception of the Lewiston translator - would probably not survive
the cuts.

"I don't see the private sector as being able to replace, dollar for dollar,
those rural and administrative functions," Morrill said.

Pisaneschi said IdahoPTV employs 56 full-time staffers in addition to other
part-time workers. Freeland said five employees work at KUID in Moscow.

Morrill said if the budget cut is approved, IdahoPTV will likely have to
return at least $1 million worth of grant money to the federal government.
IdahoPTV has received about $4 million for equipment purchases and
maintenance during the past 10 years, and the government still has a stake
in some of it, Freeland said.

"If we're not using that equipment, we would potentially have to pay that
back to the federal government," she said.

KUID has broadcasted from the University of Idaho campus since September

Freeland said about 100 students per semester use the studio to gain
experience using broadcasting equipment. UI journalism students also produce
a pair of television programs there.

Pisaneschi said Idaho State University has a similar arrangement with the
Pocatello studio, KISU.

Morrill said his staff will be in touch with legislators and hope to find a
solution that doesn't cut all state funding to public television.

"I don't know of any other situation where the state has stopped funding its
own entity," he said.

Holly Bowen can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 239, or by e-mail at
hbowen at dnews.com.


Originally posted at http://www.dnews.com//story/local/48248/
*The editorial posted here is provided by permission of its original
publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public
*Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett*
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