The decline of the coal mining industry hit West Virginia hard, prompting the governor to propose cutting $4.5 million in state funding for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
This cut could have had a devastating impact on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, since it costs $3.5 million annually to broadcast radio and television signals to the mountainous regions in West Virginia.
Fortunately, vocal listeners and viewers responded to the threat of defunding with an outpouring of support. When the dust settled, West Virginia Public Broadcasting received a $1 million cut in state funding, far less than proposed but still a dramatic reduction. Public Media Company swung into action, helping West Virginia Public Broadcasting re-architect its operating model to drive growth in membership, foundation and major gifts revenue while also streamlining expenses.
Now, thanks in part to Public Media Company, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is now a more stable and financially independent public broadcasting outlet with a unified staff, board and audience. Due to increased foundation funding, it has expanded its local coverage of West Virginia and continues to be one of the most prolific producers of rural reporting in the U.S.