Facing tough budget choices, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has opted to discontinue funding for the Pennsylvania Public Television Network. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, PPTN received $12.3M last year, some of which was used for the network’s costs, but with almost $8M distributed to the eight television stations comprising the network. The funding comprises only 10% of PPTN’s budget, but its importance looms larger since it is part of the calculus when determining matching funding from the federal and other sources. Rendell said it came down to choices between television and things like health and safety.
RBR/TVBR observation: There is every reason to believe we’ll see this situation repeated elsewhere, at least for awhile. It will force noncoms in both the television and radio arenas into belt tightening, and will also drive them into stiffer competition with their commercial brethren as they expand their search for underwriters.