KHSU public radio faces possible defunding

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By Curran Daly

Humboldt State’s radio station, KHSU, is facing a 16 percent funding decrease under Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 Budget Outline.

KHSU has an annual operating budget of just over a million dollars. In 2016, KHSU received $175,061 in grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is the largest source of funding for public radio. With the complete defunding of the CPB, KHSU would have to look elsewhere for funding.

Peter Fretwell, KHSU’s new general manager, was attracted to the position as general manager at KHSU due to it’s large community involvement.

“KHSU is near the top, if not the top of the most listened to stations in Humboldt county,” Fretwell said. “In my experience community involvement is important and I was attracted to Humboldt county and KHSU because of the deep community engagement.”

KHSU is a noncommercial, public radio station, supported by Humboldt State University. KHSU is largely community based on and acts to provide intellectual perspectives on local and national issues.

KHSU receives a large amount of their funding from donations from the community. In 2016 $336,289 was donated in listener support. It is this kind of support from the community that will be able to maintain KHSU’s ability to broadcast.

KHSU is a vital resource for the community. Humboldt is relatively cut off from the world and in the face of potential natural disaster, public radio would be vital for public service.

The recent budget outline, released on March 16, called for a complete cut to CPB funding. Similar stations with similar communal obligations all around the country face these cuts as well. Patricia Harrison, CPB’s president and CEO, outlined the importance of public media in a statement made after the budget outline was released.

“The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate, and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions,” Harrison said.

Fretwell has seen proposed cuts to CPB before and believes that, as before, the CPB will be able to retain its funding.

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