What an interesting time we live in today. It seems our world revolves around media of all kinds: social media, print media, digital media or over the airwaves. It’s how we communicate, how we engage in news, and how we see the world. Each type of media has unique foundations, which often leads us to question what is “real” or “fake,” and ultimately, who is trusted.
WTVP has a long history of high-quality programming and occupies a unique position in the media marketplace. PBS is regularly named the most trusted media brand, according to national polls; at WTVP, we are honored to be a trusted and valued local organization. We do everything we can to promote and produce local programs that live up to the standards of PBS and the central Illinois community.
Public Media in the Spotlight
Public media seems to be in the spotlight even more lately as President Trump threatens to take away federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). This funding, which is only 0.01 percent of the federal budget, ensures universal access to our essential services, including in rural and remote areas where commercial broadcast operations are not economically viable.
Without this critical seed funding, local stations like WTVP may be forced to go off-air, or cut the programs you love and the public services central Illinois relies on. The region could lose access to educational content for children, emergency communication services, local programming, trusted news and more. H.R. 727 was introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn and would defund the CPB. This legislation mischaracterizes the role of CPB and would have a disastrous effect on the ability of WTVP to continue to provide the highest-quality programming and services to the communities we serve. It fails to recognize that nearly 80 percent of federal funding for CPB goes directly to local stations like WTVP in order to address the unique needs of the communities we serve.
WTVP uses this funding to create local programs like At Issue, Consider This, Sound Bites with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, State & Water and local documentaries that no one else is providing our community. These are services the public values. Time and time again, voter surveys have shown that the American public—including majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents—support continued federal funding for public broadcasting. A recent poll of Trump voters conducted by Morning Consult covered a broad range of issues—including the finding that a majority support continued federal funding for public broadcasting at or above current levels. If you feel the same way, let your voice be known and contact your legislators to let them know you oppose this legislation.
Content of Consequence
Beyond fighting the good fight to continue our federal funding, we in public media battle the newest delinquent of the news world: “fake news.” Fake news is designed to outrage and shock, causing people to share it on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets without questioning it. Sharing this fake news exposes it to more people who may be outraged by it, who also share it without question, and so on. This cycle continues until a sizeable number of people believe this fake story is the truth.
WTVP strives to be central Illinois’ trusted leader in telling stories that matter. We give information and perspective on events and culture, filling the vacuum left by the decline of downstate newspapers and commercial news. WTVP is among the few remaining locally-owned media outlets in the region, and we have the largest TV studio in downstate Illinois. We are known as the primary source for quality regional documentaries, lifestyle and arts/cultural productions, and public affairs. Whether Illinoisans find us online, at an event or on the air, WTVP is known as the destination for programs and entertainment that reflect our audience’s values.
Our commitment to education is unwavering, as this year we focus on PBS LearningMedia and the 40,000 videos and lesson plans available free to local schools, daycare centers and families. The 2017 addition of our 24-hour educational channel, PBS KIDS, has opened up more opportunities for children to access free educational programming anytime, anywhere.
Amidst today’s dynamic media landscape, public media is dedicated to content of consequence. As technology changes and audiences diversify, WTVP will continue to serve central Illinois with quality content in new and exciting ways. We provide programs that expand the minds of children, provide universal access to the arts, offer in-depth coverage of issues that matter, and inspire viewers to learn more about the world around them. WTVP helps transform the way our viewers and listeners see themselves and the world… and the way the world sees central Illinois. iBi
Moss Bresnahan is CEO of WTVP. For more information, visit wtvp.org.