Allen Weatherly, executive director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network, has sent a letter to AETN Foundation supporters urging them to call members of Congress in the state to save federal allotments for public television. (Public radio money is also on the chopping block.)
A worthy cause, a hard battle. It will be interesting to see which members of Congress from Arkansas respond positively. Sen. Mark Pryor, whose father sits on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, might be the only real hope.
LETTER FROM ALLEN WEATHERLY
Dear AETN supporter,
Soon, some members in Congress will push a critical vote to eliminate all federal support for public television. For all my friends of all political persuasions who have said they couldn't fathom Congress cutting local public television stations - a valued service for our children and so many others - the House is voting to do just that any day now.
Federal funding helps PBS stations like AETN and others across the country, to provide educational programs free from commercial interference. Programs that expand children's minds, documentaries that open up new worlds, trusted news reporting, and regular forays into the worlds of art, music, theater, and dance.
Remember that most support that comes from federal sources goes directly to the local station, not to national organizations like PBS or, in radio's case, NPR. It is that local connection that will be immediately impacted and potentially devastated.
Some say there is no longer a need for federal support of public broadcasting. We at AETN, along with many others, believe that it's a very worthy investment of federal dollars. For seven years in a row public television has been viewed as the second best investment of federal dollars, just behind national defense.
Ultimately, the decision rests with you.
We hope you will call your Members of Congress - and tell them what you think of public broadcasting and the proposed cuts. Congress could take action on these cuts in the next few days, so please act if you are so inclined.
Rep. Tim Griffin. (202) 225-2506
Rep. Steve Wommack. (202) 225-4301
Rep. Rick Crawford. (202) 225-4706
Rep. Mike Ross. (202) 225-3772
Sen. John Boozman. (202) 224-4843
Sen. Mark Pryor. (202) 224-2353
You can also go to each Member's website and use email to let them know your feelings. It's important that Congress hears from you.
You can also go to aetn.org to read a longer interview I recently gave about this issue.
AETN's mission has always been clear:
The mission of the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is to offer lifelong learning opportunities to all Arkansans; to supply instructional programs to Arkansas' schools; to provide programming and services to improve and enhance the lives of Arkansas' citizens; and to illuminate the culture and heritage of Arkansas and the world.
To accomplish this mission, AETN, through the creative use of telecommunications, will present a high-quality public television service designed to inform, educate, motivate, entertain, enlighten and inspire.
It is an honor to work to use AETN's unique combination of local, corporate, state and federal support to not be forced to chase audiences or a coveted section of a desired demographic, but provide quality children's, educational and arts and cultural programming that aims to meet that mission - not a bottom line.
We hope you will contact your Congressman, whatever your feelings. That, after all, is the democratic way.
Arkansas Educational Television Network
P.S. You can keep up with what is going on by registering at 170millionamericans.org. Sign up now and receive ongoing updates.