Public broadcasters bracing for possible budget cuts

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- Public radio and television stations in the Quad Cities are bracing for major cuts if the president's budget proposal moves forward.

The Trump administration's budget plan would zero out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

At WVIK, the Quad Cities' NPR station located at Augustana College, that would mean a loss of roughly $250,000, or 20 percent of the station's budget.

"To WVIK locally, a quarter million dollars is probably irreplaceable," said Jay Pearce, general manager.

Station managers are already making plans for possible cuts, but they say it may be difficult to make up that much money.

"The equivalence there is maybe a position, maybe a major show -- Prairie Home Companion, or what? But it would actually take three or four Prairie Home Companions. We don't have three or four of them. It's going to be major, whatever it is, if it happens," said Pearce.

WQPT, the Quad Cities' regional PBS station, would also be hard hit. Roughly half of the station's budget depends on federal funding.

"I'm not sure that we'll be able to recover if we don't get any federal funding at all, because we're already not getting state funding," said Mary Pruess, the station's general manager.

Overall, the president is proposing $54 billion in cuts to offset funding increases for Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

Congress will have the final say over which agencies and programs are included.