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Local Stations Concerned About Effects of NPR Fallout

SYRACUSE — If you keep up with the national trades, you’re well aware of the problems facing National Public Radio. Capping off a series of controversial headlines over the past several weeks, NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller “resigned” yesterday. Today, management at WRVO and WCNY say they’re worried that the negative press on top NPR officials could have significant trickle-down effects on their stations and other local public stations nationwide.

WRVO General Manager Michael Ameigh and WCNY-TV/FM President Bob Daino both spoke candidly with Glenn Coin from the Syracuse Post-Standard for an article which appears in today’s paper.

Although both stations have plenty of local underwriting sponsors and both stations hold pledge drives to solicit donations from their respective audiences, they also count on money from sources like grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — which is funded by the federal government.

On the campus of SUNY Oswego, Ameigh says federal funding of $205,000 accounts for about a fifth of WRVO’s budget. He called the problems involving Schiller and other NPR network-level executives “a distraction” from the station’s efforts to promote a positive self-image among local listeners.

At the studios of PBS affiliate WCNY-TV and Classic FM (WCNY-FM), Daino says Uncle Sam provides a total of one million dollars for the two stations. That’s about 15% of the total operating budget. Daino told the Post-Standard “there will absolutely be impacts” if federal funding is taken away.

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