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WPBS sees 5 percent cut in fed funding

Apr 5, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The station's general manager says viewers won't notice a change.

Wyoming PBS general manager Ruby Calvert says viewers will not notice the effects of cuts to the station due to federal sequestration.

"A lot of agencies are putting out their most visible services," Calvert said, referring to earlier reports about roads being opened late at Yellowstone National Park because of the sequester. "We are going to probably have to cut back on our program acquisitions, but am I going to cut the most visible things? Am I going to cut Lawrence Welk? No."

She said the cuts, which went into effect March 1, took away 5 percent -- or almost $39,000 -- of the station's federal funding, which comes from the national Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

WPBS was scheduled to receive almost $910,000 in grants from CPB for fiscal year 2013, so with the $39,000 reduction the station will get about $871,000, according to Calvert's March report to the Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees.

The majority of the cut will be made to the CPB community service grant, which would have brought almost $760,000 to the station for fiscal year 2013. Now the grant will bring in around $722,000.

The CPB interconnection grant, which would have brought about $16,000 to the station, now will generate about $15,200.

CPB's distance services grant was not subject to sequestration according to Calvert's report. That funding amounts to about $133,500.

More cuts

Calvert said WPBS will lose more money in addition to the initial cut due to sequestration.

"Our federal grant is based on the amount of money we raise locally," Calvert said, pointing to decreases in funding from state sources in 2010, 2011 and 2012. "With the state budget cut in 2010 we had a 10 percent reduction, (and) after the stock market fell we saw a huge reduction in the amount of gifts that came in. In 2012 we had those implications in our budget ... which then rolled over to that federal grant."

Non-federal financial support dropped from about $2.9 million in fiscal year 2011 to about $2.6 million in fiscal year 2012, so Calvert said CPB funding actually will fall about 10 percent -- or $74,000 -- for fiscal year 2013 compared to the previous year, when the station received almost $945,000 in funding from CPB.

"We kind of took a double whammy," Calvert said. "The 10 percent is going to hurt."

She does not anticipate layoffs due to sequestration, because WPBS doesn't fund salaries using federal money.

"All of our staff salaries are funded out of the state grant," Calvert said. "That's why that is so important to us."

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