HARRISBURG -- Several dozen toddlers, teachers and public television employees converged on the state Capitol today with a mission to save Big Bird and his friendly neighbors on Sesame Street.
They aim to persuade the Legislature to restore funding eight public television stations. Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed budget would eliminate the $8 million in funding for grants to stations including WQED in Pittsburgh.
The money supports local programming production and allows the stations to broadcast commercial-free. Without the state funding, jobs could be eliminated and some smaller stations could be forced to shut down, public television officials said.
At WQED, the cut would mean a $1.1 million reduction in state funding, plus a loss of $75,000 in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which bases funding on a formula that rewards stations for raising non-federal revenue.
Tracie Mauriello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141.