Every day OETA receives dozens of telephone calls, letters and emails about our programming, signal distribution, funding and other topics of interest to viewers. Anyone who asks a question, we certainly try to answer and think we have a fairly efficient system to handle inquiries.
Unfortunately, we do not have a record of an email from Mr. Hall’s wife. Perhaps the email went astray. We would have been glad to answer her question.
We would have explained that with a loss of the $4.2 million appropriation (40 percent of the network’s budget), a number of changes would be required. That might mean the elimination of many Oklahoma-centric productions on history, education, the arts, news, public affairs, etc. It also might mean the elimination of the OETA signal to the non-metropolitan areas of Oklahoma. People who live in Ponca City, Elk City, Lawton, Duncan, Ardmore and dozens of other cities, towns and rural communities would not have access to any educational, non-commercial television. In many areas of Oklahoma, this is the only off-air television signal received by citizens.
We also would have explained that OETA’s website would be unable to post the hundreds of hours of statewide and local productions. We would note that educators, home-schoolers, caregivers and families could no longer depend on the only source of educational, noncommercial children’s programs.
It also might mean that no longer would Oklahoma elementary schools be able to teach American history through the live, interactive TV field trips to Colonial Williamsburg. A loss of such funding could mean the loss of the annual television program that awards scholarships to hundreds of Oklahoma high school seniors.
We would have noted that Oklahoma is recognized nationally for having the most effective, efficient statewide network in America. That excellence would be difficult to maintain if the state no longer funded its public television network.
That’s how we have answered others who have asked about potential loss of state funding. And we would like to supply Mr. Hall’s wife with the same information.
McCarroll is the executive director of OETA.
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