WJCT seeks community funding

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  • | 12:00 p.m. June 9, 2011
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by Karen Brune Mathis

Managing Editor

WJCT, Northeast Florida’s community-supported public broadcasting station, faces a loss of almost $500,000 from state funding cuts, which is more than 8 percent of its annual revenues.

President and CEO Michael Boylan said Wednesday that he expects the community will come through to help replace the funding. WJCT, which operates at studios along the Northbank of the St. Johns River at 100 Festival Park Ave., began broadcasting in 1958.

“I am more than confident we can get this community to step up,” Boylan said after a presentation to the Southside Business Men’s Club, which meets weekly at the San Jose Country Club.

Boylan previewed some examples of upcoming programming to the club and also distributed information about WJCT’s financial situation for the 2011 fiscal year.

WJCT employs 50 people. Its primary operations are PBS Television and NPR 89.9 FM.

It offers six television channels — WJCT-TV, WJCT Create, WJCT PBS World, WJCT More!, Florida Knowledge Network and PBS Kids Sprout.

It offers three radio channels — 89.9FM WJCT Public Radio, 89.9FM WJCT Arts and NOAA Weather Radio.

It also offers the online channel www.wjct.org as well as a Radio Reading Service on a closed circuit subchannel.

WJCT is governed by a board of trustees and works with a community advisory board as well as the WJCT Foundation board.

The financial picture shows the sources of WJCT’s $5.75 million in revenue for fiscal 2011. Government accounts for 32 percent of funding, donor support is 22.2 percent and transactional income is 45.8 percent. That is income from program underwriting, event sponsorship, facilities rental, contract production and grants.

The government funding breaks down into 17.9 percent federal, 8.3 percent state and 5.8 percent local.

Donor support is lower than the national average for support of public broadcasting, which is 32.1 percent.

WJCT serves 1.37 million people in Duval, Clay, Baker, Nassau and St. Johns counties, although its reach also extends into parts of Alachua, Bradford, Flagler, Putnam and Union counties. It also reaches into Southern Georgia.

The financial picture shows that the per capita government funding works out to be $1.34 per person. He said the organization has about 8,000 donors for its combined radio and TV operations.

Boylan said employees took a 7.5 percent pay cut more than two years ago and the next cuts to meet reduced funding probably would be syndicated programming.

“We can’t cut ourselves into success,” he said, emphasizing that the community will support the organization. “This is your public broadcasting entity.”

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