Now is the time to stand up for public radio


Since the early 1990s, there have been intermittent threats and rumors about Congressional plans to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting, by zeroing out the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Most of these rumors have been just that–with just a small fraction of Congress actually supporting the idea. In the past, we have not asked you to contact legislators because we have had nationwide bi-partisan support and felt confident the CPB would stand strong.

Now, we come to you because the situation has changed. The President’s administrative budget specifically recommends the elimination of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. North Country Public Radio would lose about 13% of its annual revenues–or approximately $260,000. Around the country, public radio and TV stations would see funding losses ranging from 3-5% at larger stations to as much as 50% at small stations serving remote rural communities.

Together we have built an important information and cultural infrastructure called public radio and TV. It has been a long and deep process over the past 50 years. If we degrade the public media system now, it may take 50 years to build it back, or, we may never be able to restore this shared community asset.

What you can do:

  • Call your representatives in Congress. All you have to do is express your opinion about the continued funding of public broadcasting. A phone call works best, It takes two minutes.
    • Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21, R). Telephone: 202-225-4611
    • Rep. John Faso (NY-19, R). Telephone: 202-225-5614
    • Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20, D). Telephone: 202-225-5076
    • Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22, R). Telephone: 202-225-3665
    • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY, D). Telephone: 202-224-4451
    • Sen. Charles Schumer (NY, D). Telephone: 202-224-6542
  • Dig deep to support North Country Public Radio right now. We’re kicking off our spring fundraiser with this request: if you’ve given in the past, please stretch and give something more than you did last year. If you’ve never made a donation, maybe because you thought your support wouldn’t be missed, please make a gift now–every dollar is going to be essential to the station’s capacity to serve you.
  • Visit ProtectMyPublicMedia and find out how you can be a part of a nationwide movement to help public broadcasting. Lots of ideas for action you can take in your community.
  • Let us know you’re out there, and that you care about the well-being of this station and of stations around the country. You can send messages of support and encouragement to us at [email protected]

We’re a year away from celebrating the station’s 50th anniversary. We’ve gotten this far because of you. We are at a critical moment–our next 50 years of service will only be possible if you continue to be there for North Country Public Radio.

Thank you–from everyone at the station.

15 Comments on “Now is the time to stand up for public radio”

  1. Michael Greer says:

    Our local radio station can survive the Trump administration on the strength of this community. What really annoys me is that these people think it’s OK to rob every little program, service, entitlement, and department at the same time they propose a massive increase to military(pointless) spending. We already HAVE the biggest military on the planet…THAT should be enough.

  2. Belle says:

    This time it appears to be real. I will do everything in my power to persuade our representatives to continue funding the CPB.

  3. Meg Bernstein says:

    What percentage more would each of us have to give to make up the difference?

  4. Vanessa Bittner says:

    NCPR: please cover the story of the citizens in Parishville and Hopkinton fighting the proposed industrial wind farm. Please air Democracy Now like other NPR stations. Also, please create a true Community Advisory Board if you are concerned about being relevant to your listeners and continuing to receive public support. It would also help to break with the mainstream media and emphasize the urgency of the climate emergency.

  5. Erik Bollt says:

    Cut to
    Meals on Wheels, Sesame Street, NPR, the EPA, the Great Lakes cleanup, and all of this is dwarfed by the cost of building a WALL that will have no measurable effect other than stroking an ego, and diminishing our standing in the world and our relations with a good neighbor.

  6. Pete Klein says:

    Eliminate all agencies and programs created after 1960.

  7. Ellen Rocco says:

    It’s hard to answer your question in terms of percentages–people give such a wide range of gifts. However, we have roughly 5,000 contributors. We would lose $260,000 if CPB is eliminated. This means it would be about $50 more per contributor to make up the difference. Keep in mind, some people are only able to give $10 or $20. Also, the station’s belt is pulled very tight at the moment. We are not hiring for two vacant positions. We are trying to be as thrifty as possible until we see where the new Congress takes the budget, how the economy plays out under a new administration, etc.


  8. PirateEdwardLow says:

    I hope you can consider my dilemma. I used to donate regularly to NCPR. I believed in the mission of bringing objective information and entertainment to a region that has few other sources.. AND should you leave, there will likely be nothing filling that void.

    Of course, until about a year ago, I enjoyed the fact that NCPR was open to comments on its website. I am not sure how others feel or felt, but once you removed the ability to comments on stories and to have a conversation… I believe you were saying my and other’s voice was not important… and have responded accordingly with not pledging.

    So it is a bit of irony that you now are leaving one story open to comments, one where you are asking people to call their representatives to voice a concern about cuts (I would guess the concern would be to not name the cuts).

    Together we have built an important infrastructure, but we have also built a community. I feel that community has suffered by depending on people to buy into another company (facebook) to give you feed back.

    Yes we could give you feedback in other ways, though not publicly (you might notice that Elise Stefanik has taking your path to representing constituents, instead of having a public forum, she (you) limit the dialog). In the past I have used other means of communications (the private ones) with ncpr, and most times I did not receive a response.

    I certainly agree this is one of those times that I will have to step off my high horse, and make donations again and to contact a representative, but it is not an easy decision to make…it is quite the dilemma.

  9. telfish says:

    Gotta give those fat cats at the top their huge tax cut. Everything else including the 500,000 Veterans who rely on Meals on wheels is not efficient according to Trump. No wonder he has a 37% approval rating, the lowest in history.

  10. Ellen Rocco says:

    Dear Edward Low,

    This is a great opportunity to clarify practices and policies (not necessarily written in stone) that guide our interactions with members of the public.

    1. Removal of comments from news stories. In general, we still have an open comment section for our blog posts. News stories, with occasional exception, do not have a comment section. Why did we do this? For a long time–years–the bulk of the comment section was dominated by perhaps a dozen people who basically argued, often very predictably and unpleasantly, with each other. When someone outside this group of regular commenters posted, there was often a kind of bullying response from one side or the other. In other words, we decided that the time it took our one-person digital staff to moderate a closed group that repeatedly posted the same kind of argumentative comments, was serving no one but that group. We made a resource choice. We now post all critical news stories to Facebook and often generate much broader–albeit still sometimes nasty–conversations on that platform.

    2. Response to online comments. Again, in general, we respond to comments if there is a misunderstanding or misstatement of fact about the story being discussed–in other words, for factual clarification; we respond if we think we can add something significant to the conversation, somethat broadens the discussion; and, we respond if we believe someone has overstepped our basic language and civilities guidelines (the response being a removal of the offending comment).

    3. Not a hard and fast rule necessarily for everyone, but overall our policy is to reply to criticisms of or questions about our work. I certainly make a point of replying to all emails or online comments addressed to me that express some kind of dissatisfaction with the station’s work. I am less likely to reply if someone compliments us.

    It’s an imperfect system, Edward, I know. We are constantly adjusting, trying to match real world staffing resources with increasing expectations from the public about what this station delivers. Twenty five years ago we had a broadcast service and listeners contacted us via phone or a letter. Today, we operate a much larger broadcast service, plus multiple digital platforms and we receive input via phone, letters, emails and comments on all of those digital platforms. We’re trying. Thanks for your patience.

  11. PirateEdwardLow says:

    1) will you do away with comments on faceway because many of the comments are from the same people over and over?

    I understand now and then your reasoning for taking away from allowing comments..

    fact is, you have taken away a place for people (for a community) to have a discussion, to also give you feedback. No doubt about it, there is bullying, there is bullying… or denial of facts (different kind of bullying). I disagree with any sense of forcing people to have a faceway account makes it better (perhaps disqus as as bad in mining personal data, invasion of privacy and the request for users to sign off…on those rights)

    2) I disagree, but do appreciate the time you have taken to respond here.. and hope that it was not because was fundraiser time (in a time when some revenue sources are being threatened)

    3) sort of

    I get it, it is your choice to make the rules that you do… And I understand your reasons are more important to you… and certainly matter more to you, than my opinions (unless, of course, they align).

    You have a great station… and ncpr… I find actually goes way to far out of its way to offer up a balance platform for information and entertainment. The imperfections are not as large and I might say, but they exist…. And this is a time when I can actually respond when it might have more weight — fundraising time

    Thank you

  12. Ellen Rocco says:


    We may have to agree to disagree on the decisions we made about open comments on news stories. It is largely a matter of resources–and the limited number of people who engaged in the discussions compared to the staff time required to moderate. As for my reply being prompted by this being a fundraising week, emphatically, No. As I said, I make every effort to reply to public input, particularly when it is critical of some aspect of our work.

    We are far from perfect. But, we are always aspiring to be better.

    Thank you for taking the time to take our work seriously. It means a great deal to me.


  13. PirateEdwardLow says:

    To frame your words
    You say resources
    I say opinions

    One might say that a dialog among the community is more important than a reporter cross country skiing and falling down. Or one might say, having reporters go to a party where large donors will be is more important than covering events in Old Forge.. and one might say it is better to use of those resources to schmooze with the donors they might also have to cover, but it could be a conflict of interest.

    One might say having resources placed on a local nature program is more important than doing a story on the Zoo in Watertown.

    Some might think it is more important to put your resources toward the Governor’s Adirondack Challenges over some theatrical productions in the same areas.

    A few would suggest the time to plan a musical jam session is less important than giving your listeners a voice.

    Do not take any of this as a suggestion what actually is more important

    The limit of resources DOES limit how much you cover, but it does NOT decide what you cover or choose to do with those resources.

    I am not suggesting you have comments about national stories that your news teams does not cover, however, there should be an open discussion right now on most all of Elise Stefanik’s refusal to meet with her constituents at a town hall meeting. Not because that story is news and important to your community (though it is), but because in the absent of an open forum with the #ny21 representative by the representative, it is imperative for the media (be it you, or Pete Klein’s newspaper/website) to take the lead, because you (the media) are the fourth estate.

    As far as taking the time to take your work seriously, that really isn’t my job, because I can’t only reflect on the job you do…. to some degree it doesn’t matter the reality of being taken seriously — for example: Does Radio Bob (blob) take his show seriously (I would say he takes it light-heartedly, but does an amazingly fun job at it. People listen not to hear the Rolling Stones (yet again), but the less than serious tone he has on the air).

    And maybe since you are an on-air entity, that should be your area of expertise. That is to day, maybe there should be a monthly call-in show about ncpr or the news in the area. Yes you do books, yes you do music jams.

    and yes, you could do more with less.

    to end in a snarky vein (and I will now let you have the last word and end my response with this) if a wealthy donor, say a contributor of $10,000 suggested, at a ncpr get together, you should bring back comments… it (the resources) might be looked at differently than a guy like me who gives $15 a year, just to have a chance to win an iPad

    And that comment is related to the ease it can be made, accordingly to the clout behind it. I would guess way more people complain about your coverage on the face page then they do when you collect comments for the FCC during the comment period

  14. M.P. Heller says:

    Ed makes some salient points.

    It’s a poor policy decision to disallow public commenting on NCPR stories in this era. What other media source takes such actions in 2017? Aside from being pedantic and anachronistic, it has a chilling effect on free speech. Quite the irony.

    If NPCR wants to stifle the opinions of its readers and listeners, perhaps it is quite appropriate that the federal government stifles their budget.

  15. Ellen Rocco says:

    Ed and MP:
    Actually, many news organizations have eliminated blanket open comment sections for pretty much the same reasons we came to that decision. Mind you, we debated the decision internally and agreed to revisit it.

    I’m more concerned about Ed’s implied suspicion that we are more likely to respond to a request–like allowing public comment on all of our stories–if it comes from a major donor. Actually, concerned is too tepid. Why would you listen to the station or read our content on line if you believed this to be true? We have a solid firewall between giving and news. Have we been asked to do things by major donors? Rarely. Have we ever shaped policy or news content because of such a request? Never.

    A comment on our Facebook page just reminded me of the Jorurnalist’s Creed, published in 1914. It hasn’t changed much:'s_Creed

    Finally, we are not just a “hard” news organization. We also publish culture, recreation, human interest and other kinds of content–produced by every one on staff, including news reporters. We encourage Brian to tell us about his “off duty” time on the slopes–he’s a man who even turns his recreation time into stories for audiences.


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