Noem, state legislators open to conversation on SDPB funding
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota’s Republican-dominated state government appears interested in a conversation on funding for the state’s National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
State Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids) tweeted Tuesday, comparing South Dakota’s “state media” to that of “China, Russia, and North Korea.” When reached for comment, Hansen said that his feelings translated to a desire to potentially slash South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s (SDPB) funding.
Hansen’s criticism, and suggestion to defund public radio, is familiar territory for South Dakota political figures.
According to a post by the Madville Times, Congresswoman Kristi Noem voted to defund NPR in 2011. She explained her vote in an interview with SDPB, which is now unavailable online.
“Things have changed over the years as far as having different places that we certainly can get our information in this day and age,” Noem explained. “I’ll tell you that doesn’t mean that people don’t value public radio, public TV and they certainly do and in South Dakota it’s very important to people, but I also think there’s a unique opportunity here to stop some of the federal funding...”
Noem appears to have changed her tone since providing that explanation in 2011.
When reached for comment on the governor’s stance regarding SDPB’s funding, Noem’s Communication Director Ian Fury credited the idea’s discussion with SDPB “supporting radical ideology,” but avoided saying the governor supported cutting funding now.
“We’re not surprised to see citizens and legislators voicing their opposition to SDPB supporting radical ideology,” Fury said. “Ibram Kendi and out-of-state professional activists do not represent the values of South Dakotans. SDPB should challenge those individuals on-air for their radical liberal and Marxist beliefs, not give them a free pass from critique. SDPB can do better.”
SDPB has serviced South Dakota with non-commercial educational content since 1922. The outlet, operated by the state’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunication office, is also tasked with recording and storing state legislative meetings.
In the 2022 budget, SDPB was allotted over $4 million by the state government, their primary source of funding.
State legislators will return for the 2022 legislative session Jan. 11, 2022.