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WMMT Will go Off The Air Without CPB Funding.

March 11, 2011

The hornets nest is wide open after Eric posted his NPR blog yesterday. This is a very heated debate and we are hearing from radio stations all over the country. One, in East Kentucky, serving about 50 counties, told us without help from CPB the station will be forced to go off the air. Here is the letter from the station in its entirety

WMMT-FM is a community radio station deep in the coal fields in East KY right on the KY/VA line. We serve about 50 counties in rural KY, Southwest VA, TN, NC, and WV. We are funded through listener support, underwriting, and some other sources if we receive money to produce long-form radio documentaries about Appalachia. We are also funded by CPB. We are NOT an NPR affiliate, the only programming we share with NPR is "Inside Appalachia", a show produced in WV that airs on 6 NPR affiliates in Appalachia, and us.

Without CPB we will go off the air after 25 years. Local residents in one of the poorest parts of the country will become unemployed. 50 volunteers, some here from the very beginning, will lose their opportunity to be on the air. And Central Appalachia will lose a very important local voice.

So, when you write with glee about Congress de-funding NPR, please be aware of what will ACTUALLY be de-funded. Public and Community radio stations (both NPR affiliates and not) around the country serving rural areas, people of color, Native American reservations, and putting local voices on the air in communities that are otherwise only served by Clear Channel.

Almost a month ago there was a diesel fuel spill in our local river, the source of our county's water supply. The city and county waited 2 days to contact residents to notify them of the "no touch" advisory(and then only to residents that had land-line telephones, which is less than half). This is after parents had bathed their children in the water, given it to them to drink, washed their dishes, gave their pets the water, etc. Without us on the air notifying residents, even more of our community would now be sick from water that could start a truck.

We don't air NPR programming, we tell our listeners when their water is poisoned (which happens more often than you can imagine).If NPR is de-funded, so are local community stations like ours. Congress sees them as one and the same under the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Oh, and by the way...I think Ron Schiller is a jackass and an embarrassment. He obviously knows nothing about the stations that use their CPB funding to purchase programming from NPR.

Thanks,
Marcie Crim
General Manager
WMMT




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