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Calling PBS a “Special Interest,” Rick Scott Vetoes $4.8 Million in Public Broadcasting Aid

| May 30, 2011

florida gov. rick scott pbs npr public broadcasting slahing budget cuts veto

Look who's holding the mike now.

In an unexpected move last week, Gov. Rick Scott cut all state spending to public television and radio stations – an action that trimmed $4.8 million from the state’s $69 billion budget.

Scott defended the public broadcasting cuts and others included in $615 million of budget vetoes he unveiled Thursday during a budget signing ceremony at a retirement community where he called the vetoes a rejection of special interests, a label that made public broadcasting officials bristle.

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“It is particularly perplexing to us that we are lumped in this category of special interest groups,” said Michael Boylan, the President and CEO of WJCT Public Broadcasting in Jacksonville. Boylan said he can’t remember a time when a governor has vetoed all state funding for public television and radio stations.

At least one Republican lawmaker criticized the decision.

“I believe public broadcasting does provide a service for individuals in the state of Florida,” said Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, who helped write the portion of the budget that funded public broadcasting. “Apparently, the governor has completely eliminated the funding for public broadcasting and he and I have a difference of opinion.”

The veto means that each one of Florida’s 13 public radio stations, including WMFE in Orlando (90.7 FM) and WJCT in Jacksonville (89.9 FM), both of which can be heard in Flagler County, is losing $61,715, and every one of the state’s public television stations is losing $307,447. Public broadcasting in Florida was already strapped, particularly the television stations. Orlando’s WMFE in April announced that it was selling its television station to concentrate exclusively on its radio programming.

Since 2007, direct support for WMFE-TV had decreased 68 percent from corporate donations and 40 percent from individuals. Its on-air pledge drives, whose programs are driven by PBS, were down 34 percent, and the station came up more than $300,000 short of its Fiscal Year 2010 fundraising goal. In contrast, the radio station recently completed its spring fundraising program and reached its $230,000 goal ahead of schedule. WMFE-FM 90.7’s audience, since the all-news format change in 2009, has experienced strong, consistent growth.

Nevertheless, the impact of the Scott veto on radio and television stations is “significant,” Boylan said. While stations can survive without state funds, it will have an impact on stations that use this money for 10 percent or more of their budgets.

Nationally, Republicans in Congress have pushed for eliminating federal subsidies for National Public Radio, which received $5 million last year. A bill to ban federal NPR funding passed the House of Representatives in February but has not passed the Senate.

Public broadcasting television and radio stations had been bracing for a 30 percent cut in state funds that the House and Senate had already agreed to in the state budget. The 30 percent cut came on top of a 60 percent drop in funding over the last five years, Boylan said.

“It wasn’t like we had been riding a huge wave, we have seen monumental cuts,” Boylan said.

“The consequences will be seen and felt,” Boylan said. “Many of our stations, for a number of years, have been cutting staff and cutting salaries.” These stations will rely more heavily on pledge drives, corporate donations and grant funding to shore up their budgets next fiscal year.

Public radio and television stations fall under the education portion of the budget because they provide educational opportunities for children, such as programming during the day that day care centers and educators use.

Though he declined to speak specifically to the veto of public broadcasting dollars, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said Thursday Scott’s vetoes were a product of a “sick” economy.

“We cannot spend money the way we have been in the past,” Hays said. “He had some very tough decisions to make and he just made the decisions he felt were the wise choices.”

–Lilly Rockwell, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive.

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39 Responses for “Calling PBS a “Special Interest,” Rick Scott Vetoes $4.8 Million in Public Broadcasting Aid”

  1. Liana G says:

    It’s funny how the ‘elitist’ left is viewed with suspicion and resentment for trying to educate the public by exposing them to a cultural and diverse world view.

    Can we really blame the governor for making all these educational cuts given our intellectual mindset. It’s glaringly obvious that spending all those resources educating us hasn’t worked. If there is one good thing to come out of this depression is that it has shown us how incredibly dumb and apathetic we truly are. Let’s see to it that the next generation is not raised this way. And we can’t afford to focus on just a select few either. That too hasn’t worked!


  2. palmcoaster says:

    This Rick Scott is a fox in the chicken coop thanks to the teabaggers. He mandates drug test for all public employees and welfare recipients, not caring about privacy issues at all, but opposes a state wide computer database of pain killers and Oxycoden drugs because as he says “is an invasion of privacy?” What a crook benefiting pharmaceuticals and his own medical/lab practice by wasting taxpayers monies on mandate drug testing that cost between $10 to $25 each, at least.
    “Law enforcement officials say Florida is the largest U.S. state without a database to keep track of painkillers, including oxycodone, and the undisputed epicenter of America’s illegal pill-mill trade and prescription dope dealers”. There you go our local Sheriffs, no support on your endeavors from #1 crook.


  3. palmcoaster says:

    PBS and NPR will survive with public support no matter the fascist and his cronies seating in Tallahassee now. They only want their destructive conservative agenda to be on the airwaves not the educated, unbiased and revealing news and documentaries we only hear and see in NPR and PBS.
    Recall this crook please.


  4. kevin says:

    This will be poorly written so hang onto the neg. comments please.

    Norton, I said this was one of only a couple issues I agreed with. I do agree to nix the rail project at least for now, (this hurts my brother’s company and his position which he was almost banking on that project), my wife and I agreed with the changes to pension contributions which make public employees responsible for some of their retirment like those of us in the private sector (she works for fire and rescue as what I see from the way others treat them as low-level, disrespected emergency dispatch operator when in fact her work is crucial to the everything from beginning to end when it comes to an emergency event and she is amazing in terms of her intelligence, communication, and multi-tasking skills, making a embarrasssing hourly wage and no raises in 4 years) so need I say more.

    I would hope you have honor to recognize from all of my past comments that I support the guy for only a few things because I considered him a criminal from the onset and thus never voted for him either. Yes, I admit to being biased. However no reasonable educated, unbiased, informed person can say that without reservation what he is doing is hurting our state. To the contrary, he is taking painful steps in fixing things before they really get bad like other states which are past the point of fixing.

    I usually do not refer to people I like as “Skeletor.”


  5. kevin says:


    I see you receive your information from the Huffington Post yet you attack and insult Tea partiers, fox and everyone in between? It all makes sense now, no wonder you comment as you do. I will never respond to anything you say ever again if this is the level of intellect you demonstrat and subscribe to. Sorry but the facts are what they are. That trash site is a vile, repugnant collection of hate mongering, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel bloggers, anti-teaparty, anti-family, anti-prolife, anti-sophisticated and anti-polite people that I would be embarrassed to claim any allegiance to reading.

    “This Rick Scott is a fox in the chicken coop thanks to the teabaggers. He mandates drug test for all public employees and welfare recipients, not caring about privacy issues at all, but opposes a state wide computer database of pain killers and Oxycoden drugs because as he says “is an invasion of privacy?” ” It is an invasion of privacy to the most critical information of all, one’s medical records!!!! WHere would it stop once one is on that slippery slope. The problem is what happens if and WHEN (because it will happen) when the information escapeds out due to theft or misuse of records? How do you fix the damage that can occur to one’s professional or personal life for those people lawfully using opiods, which come in many forms outside of oxycontin?

    Also what proof do you have of you claim, the same repugnant, sickening insults against decent citizens being part of the Tea-party, that they alone were responsible for his election? Maybe try getting your information from sources other than the Huffington Post and you may exeperience something that makes you feel better about others and helps you expand your intellect in ways widely respected from those either sides of the isle.


  6. kevin says:


    What is with your hate for those people who are either part of the tea party and/or agree with them? Please explain why you hate people like such yet are in communion with murders (those agreeing with the termination of the life of embryos and fetuses), allowance of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship and rewarded in essence, ahead of or with those who have taken the time to legally pursue citizenship, endless rights to unions that have negative impact to citizens and consumers alike, and other subjects they proudly represent and agree with? Oh not to forget the anti-semetic sentiments and supression of religious values as they also represent? The list is lengthy and ugly when look at in detail.

    I doubt that you will answer the questions I’ve remarked on. You folks never do yet always throw shit at others expecting an answer on every thing even those things which are false from the onset.


  7. FastEddie says:

    Dear Florida,

    Alex Sink would have been a perfectly good moderate governor. Instead, you voted for a criminal CEO. You get what you deserve.

    Unseat Scott and destroy the Tea Party.


  8. palmcoaster says:

    Here bit more of what keeps our federal and local government budgets in free fall ….the free rides to the wealthy…while cutting down on the rest of us.
    f …..


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