In his 2013 budget proposal, City Manager Milton Dohoney suggested eliminating $300,000 in support to Media Bridges, an organization that provides public access TV and radio stations in Cincinnati.
Tom Bishop, executive director of Media Bridges, called the cuts a “meteor” to his organization’s budget. He said Ohio originally cut funding to Media Bridges in June 2011, leaving the organization with $198,000 from remaining money in the state fund and $300,000 from Cincinnati’s general fund. The state fund was provided by Time Warner Cable, and lobbying led to its elimination.
City spokeswoman Meg Olberding said Media Bridges was a target for cuts for two reasons: The program ranked low in importance by public feedback gathered during the priority-driven budget process, and Media Bridges isn’t seen as a core city service.
With the proposed city cut, Media Bridges is essentially losing $498,000 in 2013 — about 85 percent of the organization’s budget.
When it was notified of the changes a few months ago, Media Bridges proposed alternative plan keeping $300,000 in yearly funding after a six-month transition period.
That plan would force Media Bridges to cut four staff members, become more dependent on automation and charge $200 a year for memberships with a sliding scale for low-income members.
Bishop plans to reach out to government officials to make the plea that public access outlets are important for low-income families.