KPBS, the public broadcasting operation run by San Diego State University, is out with its financial report for the 12 months ending in June of last year, and it reveals that cash dedicated to actual programming has continued a years-long downward spiral. In fiscal year 2006, the TV channel and radio station spent $11.3 million for programming and production. In 2007, that number was down to $10.5 million. And last year it fell to $9.26 million, according to the report. On the other hand, “fundraising and membership development” costs continued to rise, from $5.8 million in 2006, to $7.17 million in 2007, and $7.18 million in 2008. Despite all the money devoted to fund-raising, contributions to the stations fell slightly, from $15,840,847 in 2007 to $15,769,646 in 2008. Taxpayer contributions, in the form of “direct financial support” from SDSU, rose from $2,445,629 to $2,651,918. So-called indirect SDSU support dropped slightly, from $5,615,682 to $5,336,242.

SDSU president Stephen Weber, who has frequently meddled with management in the past, is still looking for a compatible replacement for retired general manager Doug Myrland, whose former salary was $218,004. While the search continues, Myrland is getting $75,000 in addition to a generous state pension to advise the operation for another year. Critics say Myrland was far too accommodative of Weber and the downtown establishment. They argue that the stations would be better run by an independent nonprofit group less beholden to the university’s highly politicized fund-raising base of wealthy real estate developers and downtown business types. Draconian cuts in the state budget may force the issue later this year.

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tjw Jan. 14, 2009 @ 9:50 p.m.

Critics should point out how consistently liberal slants in programming, while using public funding, keep half of the population from watching their worthwhile shows- just to avoid their politically driven, left wing crap. For all the great work done at KPBS, it is diminished by their own dishonesty. Dishonesty is to blame for the financial decline of many institutions saddled with presenting news to the public, whether left wing or right wing. The San Diego Union Tribune has the opposite problem of sliding the information to the right, to appease those trying to put tall buildings in the flightpath of future condos--The same paper that squeezed Don Bauder for telling the public the truth about San Diego politics. While I occasionally disagree with Don and Matt, I thank the courage of the READER for their investigative reporting that I depend on for that truth.

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