IPR's Myrna Johnson Calls Proposed Budget Cuts "cause for concern"

Apr 7, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for big cuts in a wide array of domestic programs, including agencies that fund the arts, humanities, and public media - funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would be eliminated under Trump’s proposal.

Myrna Johnson

In this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa Public Radio executive director Myrna Johnson to discuss what this might mean for the future of IPR and public media as a whole.

IPR stations are licensed to the regents universities, and each of the stations receives a community service grant from CPB. These grants combine to make up about eight percent of IPR's overall budget - about $600,000.

"That's a big bite of our budget," Johnson says, "and it would be a challenge to find those resources somewhere else."

Other, smaller public radio stations would be hit harder, she says.

"A CPB grant could be 25, 30, 40 percent of a station's budget, and that would be really devastating to that kind of a station. I think it would threaten their existence, frankly."

The president's budget now moves to congressional committees in both the House and the Senate, that will hold hearings on proposed budgets for various departments.

A collaboration of local public radio and television stations, called Protect My Public Media, has launched an effort to counter the proposed cuts by activating audiences to support federal funding.