WGCU-FM in Fort Myers, Fla., has dropped A Prairie Home Companion as of this month, due to Florida's decision to zero-out pubcasting funding, reports the Naples Daily News. About 10 percent of the station's $1 million annual operating budget came from the state.
The choice was "very difficult," said Rick Johnson, WGCU g.m.. "We had to take a look at programming as part of our budgeting process at WGCU and what we were spending our programming dollars on. When you take a look a look at per-listener cost, Prairie Home Companion was by far the most expensive one in our lineup."
Even after negotiating a $6,000 discount, the newspaper says, the program would have cost the station $22,000 annually. A fundraising initiative specifically to cover the cost raised only $1,200.
In fall 2008, WGCU moved its classical offerings to an HD channel and switched programming to largely interview and news programs. The area's new classical station, WNPS-FM, began broadcasting content from Classical South Florida, an offshoot of Minnesota-based American Public Media, about a month ago.