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Sep 18 2007

Official: Low pay, benefits harm W.Va. pub-net


West Virginia Public Radio lost two experienced reporters recently because of low pay and no benefits, a state official testified last month.

Instead of making them full-time employees, the state-owned network paid the two reporters as independent contractors, said Kay Goodwin, state secretary of education and the arts. One of the reporters was making just $24,700 per year, according to the Charleston Gazette.

Skilled news reporting is an important part of what public broadcasting does, Goodwin told members of West Virginia’s Educational Broadcasting Authority.

WVPR operates nine educational FM stations and five translators that blanket most of the state and which can be heard in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties in Pennsylvania, and parts of Allegheny.

The Gazette also reports that the live radio program “Mountain Stage” experienced a $35,000 drop in ticket sales, mainly because it gave fewer shows in Charleston, but other income rose $104,000 because promoters paid to bring the show to their cities.

In addition, state-owned WSWP-TV (9) in Grandview, W.Va., has asked for and received a power increase on digital channel 53 to better serve its market around Beckley.