Fairbanks public radio announces cutbacks after Legislature cuts university budget

University of Alaska Fairbanks-based KUAC announced far-ranging cutbacks amid yet another year of budget cuts handed down by the Alaska Legislature to the University of Alaska system.

The Legislature maintained funding for public radio in this year’s budget, but cut $7.8 million from the university budget. Most of the cuts were focused on the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which lost $3.1 million in state funding this year. The radio and television station gets part of its funding from the university directly.

According to an announcement from KUAC last week, the station will lose 22.5 percent of its funding in the new fiscal year or about $172,000. Including the last five years of cuts, KUAC will have lost 56 percent of university funding.

KUAC’s offerings have yo-yoed in recent years as budget cuts have affected staffing and membership with the Alaska Public Radio Network. The latest round of cuts will bring another end to KUAC’s partnership with APRN, and statewide content will stop airing on the station Sept. 1.

The station has been creative during times of cuts. It reached an agreement with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner to provide news content for evening newscasts, which will continue.

Under the cuts, three full-time positions will be converted to half-time positions, leaving KUAC with 13 full-time employees and seven part-time employees.

Other programming changes include the reduction of television shows, meaning “Doc Martin,” “Doctor Who,” “The Red Green Show,” “Midsomer Muders,” “Detectorists” and others will go off the air. The station also turned off its FM HD transmitter on July 1 to save on its utility bill.

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