15 staff members to get layoffs and certain shows will get cut.
Finn did not specify which positions will be eliminated but said the layoffs will result in “less reliable” service and more outages.
Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed budget would cut WVPB’s $4.6 million in funding, which accounts for about 45 percent of the network’s total budget.
WVPB would shut down entirely if it lost all state funding, said Finn, who urged lawmakers to make sure that the state had plans for the broadcast license if that happened.
The governor’s budget also cuts a $300,000 direct appropriation to WVPB’s nationally syndicated music show Mountain Stage. The show is the “first thing that I think should be protected, honestly, and what I will work to make sure it is protected first,” Finn said.
“I just don’t see any way, in my opinion, that we can effectively operate without your entity,” said one committee member. “I think you all do a great job selling the state.”
The West Virginia House and Senate have yet to release their budget proposals.
In an interview with West Virginia radio host Howard Monroe, Gov. Justice said he didn’t want to cut public broadcasting’s funding, “but if I had come with no budget cuts I would have heard it till the cows come home.” Justice said he would “try every way in the world” to continue funding WVPB.
If one adds CPB funding, West Virginia Public Broadcasting probably gets at least half, maybe as much as 60 percent of all it’s funds from various government sources.
In many smaller and rural states, PBS and NPR member stations are owned by the state (through a state university, state department of education, or a state public broadcasting authority) and receive a large portion of their funding from their respective state.
In some large cities, where NPR and PBS member stations are owned by private-sector nonprofit organizations; some stations under such ownership get no state funding and only about ten percent (if even that much) of their budgets from CPB.