Broadcasting Cuts Might Hurt Conservatives More than Liberals

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February 21, 2011; Source: | File this under the law of unintended consequences. According to an analysis in the San Francisco Chronicle, plans to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is likely to hurt more conservative small television and radio stations "serving rural, politically red areas in California and other states" than their more liberal big-city counterparts. The Chronicle notes that financially secure public broadcasters "that serve politically liberal metropolitan areas – such as KQED in San Francisco – probably would be able to survive their share of a $430 million cut that is part of a GOP-sponsored bill trimming $61 billion in spending that passed the House on Saturday."

The article notes that federal funds represent less than 8 percent of KQED's budget. The station also has less to worry about than others because of its large number of corporate and foundation funders and 200,000 members who most likely can help cover any funding dips. In contrast, Redding's KIXE-TV, which is located in one of the few California counties that voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election, relies on federal support for 45 percent of its budget. The Chronicle reports that unless the Democrat-controlled Senate votes to restore the funding cuts, "KIXE officials say the station could be devastated. There aren't big corporate donors or major foundations in the region to make up the difference, as there are in many large cities. And with Redding's unemployment rate at 16 percent, there aren't many people with extra money to donate to the station."

Despite the warning from KIXE general manager Phil Smith to Rep. Wally Herger that "You're going to be wiping out all of your friends with this," the conservative House member still voted with his GOP colleagues to pass the spending cut.—Bruce Trachtenberg