Today Peter Morril from Idaho Public Television came before JFAC to present his budget. Peter is a tall man whose voice I'm sure you'd know: gentle, warm, phenomenally reassuring. Everything will be fine. Everything will be fine.
Yet Morrel had to set out before us the 33% reduction in funding that the Governor has directed. He was gracious and clear in the face of Otter's proposal to, over 4 years, phase out all funding for Public Television.
He gently reminded us that, no, Public Television with its public funding, can not just start selling commercial advertisements like any TV station to make up the $1.6 Million dollars in lost funds. And will a few more weeks of telethons in this economic environment make up the funds? No.
Do we forget, if we don't ponder the question, that Idaho Public Television is the only Idaho owned TV station in the state? Might it have been awhile since we watched the award winning programs exploring our own Idaho history, our heroes, our unique issues, this place with its canyons, deserts, forests, farms and mountains — everything that is so uniquely us as Idahoans.
Listening to Peter Morrill today I felt odd pride for the station that is in essence our voice. It is indeed as Peter said, one of the few things we have in common as a state. Public Television is of by and for us as a people. What state would give that up?