To the editor:
RE: Disappointed and distressed about the $500,000 funding cut for South Dakota Public Broadcasting [SDPB] and the erroneous information that was used to promulgate the action.
It was with great surprise and distress the Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting learned about the last minute significant ($500,000) reduction in the SDPB funding for the coming year.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting serves the entire state of South Dakota, and contrary to the idea that; "There is no shortage of television stations, no shortage of radio stations, no shortage of news outlets." (Sen. Greenfield in the Joint Appropriations Committee Tuesday night)
1) There is none other than SDPB that provides our South Dakota audience news and information with a considered and balanced presentation in a non-commercial setting.
The funding cut denies that SDPB provides children's educational programming and teachers' educational components that have long been held in the highest regard; denies that SDPB provides programs of art, culture, music, science, and other critical issues that cannot be viewed or heard on other stations, denies that SDPB provides links to other South Dakotans with local production.
The Friends of SDPB number more than 16,000 members, and these members are found in every county in the state. It is disappointing that the state Legislature believes that SDPB has plenty of money in reserve. That is not the case. Adequate state funding is necessary to maintain our infrastructure � the towers, translators, microwaves, digitization servers � that carries the programming to all people in South Dakota.
Friends provides money for programming, the state provides money for the system's staff and infrastructure. It is disappointing that the state Legislature is shirking its obligations to its citizens by severely reducing the money SDPB needs to serve everyone in South Dakota. Finally, to argue that a state budget reduction of $500,000 will not affect our ability to serve our listeners and viewers is disingenuous. South Dakota Public Broadcasting's mission is: to challenge the mind and lift the spirit of all South Dakotans with creative Public Broadcasting. The cut in funding will severely curtail our ability to pursue our mission.
Sue W. White, president
Friends of SDPB
Board of Directors