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I want my public TV

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Wynona Sullivan has been with KTSC, Rocky Mountain PBS' southern affiliate in Pueblo, pretty much since it first hit the airwaves 34 years ago.

She came because of her five children. Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood were the kinds of educational programs she wanted her kids to watch.

Sullivan, who moved to Pueblo in the 1960s with her husband, an Army physician, volunteered to help with KTSC's first auction to raise money. In 1989, she became the station's official auction coordinator. Eventually she stepped into the role she has today: station manager, the top position.

Occasionally she's on the air, wooing listeners with her soft, Kentucky drawl, telling them that their contributions keep KTSC going.

Heavy on her mind lately is Congress' proposal to severely cut PBS' funding, an effort fueled by plenty of political maneuvering and claims by conservative lawmakers that its programming is too liberal.

If the cuts are approved, Rocky Mountain PBS would have to slash about 9 percent from its budget, she says. She isn't sure exactly what would have to go, because the station's entire budget would need to be rewritten.

Sullivan fears that at the national level, the acclaimed children's programming that originally drew her to PBS might have to be taken off the air.

"We talking about Sesame Street, Clifford, Arthur," she says.

But she remains optimistic that things might not go that far; that viewers, who before have reached into their pockets to help, now will call their elected representatives and senators and tell them to stop the cuts.

Sullivan recalls that Congress proposed major cuts about a decade ago but was stymied when viewers and stations launched a campaign expressing their outrage. (The Web site for the most recent push against congressional cuts is pbs.org/takeaction.)

"There was such an outcry that they withdrew it," Sullivan says.

-- Michael de Yoanna

photo by Steve Bigley

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