Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Again, on arts support

I'm in the midst of suffering through writers block as I desperately try to finish a paper before presenting it in two days (!)

But I can't neglect Sonic Event for too long!

I've read with much interest the growing online response to our President's recent budget proposals. In particular, I couldn't help but notice that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting budget is slated to be cut quite a bit over the next two years.

Variety Article

Sometimes today in our digital, computer and cable age it is hard to remember, but it wasn't more than 3 years ago that I was couch-potatoing to PBS (the only station other than Fox that came in well in Hyattsville). And I honestly don't know what life as a youngster would have been like without Sesame Street.

But this isn't about memories from 25 years ago.

For much of rural America, the ONLY exposure to the arts was through PBS. Is opera broadcast anywhere else? Every week there is at least one documentary about new art, one about music, one about rock....not to mention the excellent news magazine Frontline.

So the budget is being cut, so what? Well, that $100 million represents roughly 25% of the TOTAL budgeted to the CPB. Hate those endless pledge drives? (me too) Well, looks like the stations are going to have to add a few!

And perhaps the worst part of all is that we JUST went through this last year. Here is an article from about 6 months ago describing this very same proposal:

Washington Post Article (2005)

Many of those cuts weren't successful in the end.

The State of Minnesota alone has $2 BILLION sitting around waiting for PRIVATE bioscience companies to move into Central Minnesota. The entire CPB budget is less than one quarter of that (to give this a bit of perspective). Or maybe a better analogy would be the new stadium proposal in DC. The City Council just aprroved a budget of over $600 million in public funds for a stadium for a private business. (and I'm a baseball fan)

Mad yet?


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