State legislator wants to cut MPB funding - - Jackson, MS

State legislator wants to cut MPB funding

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By Bert Case - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - State Representative Rita Martinson of Madison has filed a bill in the legislature that would cut funding for Mississippi Public Broadcasting. She says MPB is not spending money appropriately. Her legislation would phase out state funding over a five year period.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting is a statewide broadcast network, of radio and television stations, which has headquarters in northeast Jackson. It spends almost $13 million dollars a year and has 132 employees.

MPB has some of the most modern and electronically sophisticated electronic equipment in the state and was first to broadcast in high definition.

Martinson thinks the function of educational television is no longer necessary as a state agency.

I really feel that the time for the functions of ETV is passing" said Martinson. "Because now we have cable and satellite and all kinds of programming, TV stations such as your own, that are providing the necessary education to teachers and students all over Mississippi."

Martinson is particularly upset about one of the most popular programs on the public network, Mississippi Roads, which features WLBT's Walt Grayson.

"They have not produced a new program since February 11th of last year" said Martinson.

MPB acting Executive Director Jay Woods had no comment on Martinson's legislation, adding that he would need to talk with Representative Martinson first.

Martinson doesn't think her legislation has much of a chance. She says MPB if too popular.

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