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McDonnell Aims To Cut Public Broadcasting Funding

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Virginia's governor, Bob McDonnell, is proposing $191 million in new spending cuts, and the elimination of funding for public broadcasting is at the top of the governor's list.

McDonnell says eliminating the funding by fiscal year 2013 would save the state $4 million.

"In the free market, with so many choices now, I don't think we need to be funding one type of radio station or TV station," he says.

Legislative Republicans have also complained of what they perceive as a liberal tilt to public broadcasting.

WHRO, which runs four public television stations and eight public radio stations in the Hampton Roads area, is one organization that would take a hit.

Bert Schmidt, president and CEO of WHRO, says the organization gets more than $800,000 a year from the state, but he says that money doesn't subsidize programming from NPR or PBS.

"We have 22,000 members who pay for programming. The state pays, primarily in our case, for services for the schools," Schmidt says.

Those services include online courses like algebra and geometry and a video library for teachers. State funding also supports a reading service for people with disabilities. Schmidt says cutting funding will only hurt students and taxpayers.

Virginia's General Assembly will consider the proposal come January.

WAMU does not receive funding from the Commonwealth.

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