MPBN executives, supporters speak out against proposed funding cut

Posted March 22, 2012, at 12:28 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Public Broadcasting Network says a $1.7 million funding cut proposed in Gov. Paul LePage’s budget would devastate the service.

MPBN executives and supporters spoke Wednesday at a legislative hearing against the cut, which is among others in LePage’s supplemental budget.

Maine Today Media says the state provides 17.4 percent of the network’s $11.2 million annual operating budget. Sixty-four percent comes from members’ contributions.

MPBN President and CEO Mark Vogelzang said the network needs the $1.7 million and an additional $200,000 cut last year. He said the network’s board is looking for ways to replace state money with private fundraising, but it needs more time.

LePage has compared state funding of public radio to corporate welfare, and believes the money going to MPBN should be used elsewhere.