Idaho Public Television has been an institution in this state since 1965. Beginning in Moscow, the organization has expanded over 40 years to reach 97 percent of Idahoans, according to its Web site. Their programming has been able to reach into even the more isolated, rural communities of the Gem State.
Peter Morrill, the general manager of the station, is concerned about the agency’s ability to continue that statewide pursuit. With Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s recommendation to phase IdahoPTV out of the general fund, Morrill views this “of great concern” to his organization.
“First of all, we are a state organization. We receive approximately $1.6 million from the state of Idaho which makes up roughly 25% of our budget. The state funds that have come to us have been used to maintain the state-wide broadcast system,” Morrill tells citydesk.
Morrill feels that if this extra money to subsidize the broadcast system doesn’t come from the state, it’s likely that it won’t be available from other sources.
“Our initial projections are if we were to lose the funds, we would really have to pull back those state-wide systems. Virtually all of the repeater programs in the rural areas would not really be supportable without some form of subsidization,” he said.
A group has already sprung up that's attempting to voice their dissatisfaction with the state cuts to public television . "Save Idaho Public Television" prompts fans of the organizations programs to contact their legislators to say "don't kill Idaho Television" and to join their 2,600 strong Facebook group as well.
IdahoPTV might also have to cut the Legislature Live service that beams video of committee and House and Senate proceedings throughout the Capitol building and over the Web. As Morrill cites the need for state funding to offset the $30,000 rent in the Joe R. Williams Building, where the infrastructure is housed, and the $105,000 staff costs.
"That would be one of the services, that if we lost state support, I’m not seeing where the resources would come to continue that service," said Morrill.