Fisher: Cultural programming would relate to lists from cultural organizations like orchestras or theaters or science museums or art museums. Also, because there is a lot of nature and science programming on our air, lists from organizations that are involved in conservation and researching into nature and science do fairly well for us also.However, Fisher says KTCA has exchanged portions of its list of 105,000 members with some organizations that advocate political positions such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Handgun Control, and the World Wildlife Fund, among others. A Corporation for Public Broadcasting spokesperson says 53 public broadcasters in the top 75 media markets report engaging in list swaps with different groups.
Fisher: They seem to understand that it's important for organizations like ours that are seeking support from the public to use their lists in that way.But some Republicans say the trades with the Democratic National Committee make it look like public broadcasters support Democrats. Republican State Representative Mike Osskopp says the swaps give ammunition to people who don't like public broadcasting.
Osskopp: You know, you have people out there who question the reliability of what you do based on your political philosophy. And then to turn around and blatantly admit that that's what youre doing, yeah, we're a liberal organization. We're aligned with the Democratic Party and to prove it, we're going to give our subscriber list to the Democratic National Committee. That's dumb. That's just dumb.Most smaller public broadcasters, including those in Minnesota, don't have the resources to engage in sophisticated mailings and list exchanges. Mary Wilder, Director of Development of 3,000-member KSMQ-TV in Austin, says her station won't give out member names to anyone.
Wilder: We get to know a lot of our members. They trust us to be straight with them. We have a lot of people, when they send in their membership, that say "please do not give our name to anyone else." If we send out a mailing and it comes back "please take us off your member list," we try to meet those requests because the last thing we can afford to do is alienate any of our members.Wilder fears the current controversey will make it more difficult for public broadcasters to get money from Congress at a time when they need extra help to convert from analog- to digital-broadcast signals.
Damberg: They are reducing and limiting the amount of funding that we get from them, which is causing stations to have to become entrepreneurial to find other funding and then they are saying, "oh, but wait a minute, you can't do that." You know it really isn't fair to the stations in the system as a whole.The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has promised a congressional subcommittee that CPB's inspector general will contact all public broadcasters receiving federal funds to investigate their practices with donor lists. The CPB expects to complete its survey and issue a report to Congress next month.