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FL: Florida Shows Face Finale on Public Access

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Created 09/20/2007 - 9:15pm

from: Tampa Tribune [1]

Florida Shows Face Finale on Public Access

September 20, 2007
By Anthony McCartney

After two decades of broadcasting, a pair of Tampa television stations say they’re in danger of losing their local flavor.

Budget cuts threaten Hillsborough County’s annual stipends to The Education Channel and Tampa Bay Community Network/Speak Up Tampa Bay, a combined $874,433.

Without the money, both stations say they’ll have to drastically alter operations. The Education Channel won’t produce any more original programming, ending the 14-year run of the popular tutoring show, Math Homework Hotline.

TBCN would no longer allow the county’s roughly 771,000 unincorporated residents to tape shows in its studios.

County leaders say cutting ties to the stations is necessary to pay for other essential services and the salaries of sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. Management for the stations counter that they provide a crucial public service.

A third station, Hillsborough County government’s channel, HTV22, broadcasts commission meetings and has cut $283,000 from next year’s budget. It plans no cutback in its programming.

County commissioners will decide the independent stations’ fate during a public hearing at 6 tonight at County Center.

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