Latest incident fuels calls for the end of govt. funding for NPR
National Public Radio president and CEO Vivian Schiller resigned under pressure Wednesday. She quit a day after an undercover video showed one of her executives making disparaging remarks about the Tea Party. KUSI's Ed Lenderman is reports on how this “latest flap” involving NPR might effect public broadcasting in San Diego.
Coming on the heels of another “incident” last year, the episodes are a rallying cry for those seeking to end congressional funding for NPR.
It's a big story nationally and locally, possibly effecting the KPBS studios in San Diego.
National Public Radio's president and CEO Vivian Schiller being forced out by NPR's board after NPR executive Ron Schiller, no-relation, was recorded on an undercover sting bashing the Tea Party movement.
Last year, NPR took another huge reputational hit when Vivian Shiller fired analyst Juan Williams.
Today's shake-up gives even more ammunition to conservative politicians, who are pressing to end congressional funding for NPR.
KPBS director of communications Nancy Worlie says San Diego's public radio and television station supports the NPR board's decision. “There have been a lot of issues with NPR lately and we're hopeful we can move past those. Its really important for all of public broadcasting to have a unified voice at times when we are under constant criticism from the federal government and our funding is at stake,” said Worlie.
Worlie takes pains to point out that while NPR supplies about 30-percent of KPBS's radio programming, KPBS is an independent radio and television station. About 12-percent of its budget comes from federal funding. Through the corporation for public broadcasting.
Unfortunately for public stations, the undercover video of Ron Schiller also has him saying NPR would be better off without taxpayer money.
“We were appalled by his comments because we don't endorse them,” said Nancy Worlie, “and we have this 170-million Americans campaign going on that thousands of people are registering on, showing their support for public media and we have that locally as well.”
Worlie says KPBS can survive without federal funding, but the impact, especially in the long term would be severe.
“We would have to make adjustments, but we wouldn't go dark, but there are hundreds of rural public stations that would be forced to close and that would eventually have a larger effect on bigger stations like KPBS,” said Worlie.
Meaning the money KPBS pays to NPR and PBS and other services for their programs. It's also worth noting that in 2003, NPR received a huge gift from a San Diegan, the late Joan Kroc bequeathed more than 200-million dollars to NPR and there was a donation of 5-million to KPBS.