Sent today online to:
The Honorable Peter Hoekstra
2nd Congressional District, Michigan
I am writing on the behalf of restoring the funds to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB), regarding the vote of 9 June 2005 by the House, Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. Public Radio and PBS-TV stand in a unique position in our country. They are not some mouthpiece of the government, as exists in many places in the world, and yet they are also supported by private contributions from viewers, listeners and private corporations.
I view this a matter of public education in the broadest sense. I am an Assistant Professor of Physics at Western Michigan University, and I cannot tell you how many times I have begun a lecture by saying, "I heard this neat thing on NPR this morning" or "Did you watch NOVA on PBS this week?" Other media simply do not cover the range of political, cultural or scientific events and issues either at all or to the number of minutes and hours which public broadcasting does. Even some of the humorous offerings, such as the Saturday NPR line-up of "Car Talk", Michael Feldman and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" provide me with interesting material for physics class discussions. And by extension, some of my students begin to come back and say, "Dr. Phil, did you hear about...?"
In addition, public radio and television has a history of being affiliated with colleges and universities throughout the United States, even into very rural areas. I did my graduate work in Physics and Applied Physics at Michigan Tech, and lived in the U.P. for 7-1/2 years -- and we were connected to both the state, the nation and the world through public broadcasting.
Congress is requiring on-air broadcast television stations to switch to digital means in the next few years, so that the old VHF and UHF bands can be redistributed to other uses. Locally, WGVU-TV has had to raise extra funds to pay for this conversion, but many of the smaller, rural outlets aren't nearly so lucky. It is my understanding that some of the CPB funds that might be cut include the digital conversion monies.
Finally, I should also like to comment that whenever I hear someone complaining that they think that NPR commentators are biased one way or the other, I hear about the same amount of complaining the other way. This tells me that they must be doing something right.
In the strictly commercial realm, the closest bright star would have to be C-SPAN. Yet C-SPAN is really much more of a window into the government and place to hear people's comments, but it does not provide the breadth and depth which CPB helps support throughout public broadcasting.
Please consider voting to restore these funds to CPB.
Thank you for your assistance,
Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon
One man's opinion, yes. Feel free to express your own opinion to your own congressman.