Justice Proposes Funding West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mar 17, 2017

Note from WVPB News Director Jesse Wright: In the interest of avoiding a conflict of interest while also providing our audience with as much information as possible, WVPB’s newsroom is providing stories from other trusted news sources that directly affect WVPB reporters and funding.

Gov. Jim Justice has proposed continuing West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s $4.6 million state funding next year, reversing his February proposal to end it.

Charleston (AP) -- In a letter Thursday to the Legislature’s Republican leaders, the Democratic governor says his administration now projects $54 million of additional state revenue under his spending plan.

The cut would amount to roughly half of the public broadcasting budget, eliminating staff salaries.

President Donald Trump has proposed chopping Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding nationally, which would slice about $1.3 million given to West Virginia for maintaining 27 towers and other expenses.

Foundation and private donations support state programming.

The West Virginia broadcaster’s board has postponed deciding on 15 immediate layoffs.

Legislators are considering various cuts across the state government with some expected for public broadcasting.

Statement from Gov. Jim Justice:

Today, Governor Jim Justice announced that he is reinstating $4.6 million in his FY18 budget to fund the Educational Broadcasting Authority. The Governor is working on a deal with West Virginia University to allow Public Broadcasting to become a fully integrated part of WVU in the near future. Next year’s budget allocation will be a financial bridge to make the transition successful. 

“Public Broadcasting is important to our state and our people, and I don’t want to see it disappear,” said Governor Jim Justice. “We are working with President Gordon Gee to transition West Virginia’s Public Broadcasting into the WVU family. The programs on Public Broadcasting help promote our state to the world and educate our people.”

Statement from West Virginia University:

“West Virginia University has had several discussions about possible collaborations with the Educational Broadcasting Authority. The University is excited about opportunities to amplify the EBA’s important programming and mission, and looks to forward re-establishing a vibrant partnership with EBA.”

Statement from Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting Chairwoman Susan B. Hogan:

“While the budget process is far from over, we are very pleased with today’s action by Governor Justice to restore to his budget funding for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. We are equally pleased with the conversations that we have been having with the legislative leadership. Both the Governor and legislature have expressed their interest and support for public broadcasting. To our supporters, we say thank you, but keep the calls and e-mails coming as the budget process has only just begun.”