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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Public broadcasters nervous over funding

Local public broadcasters are nervously watching the ongoing congressional debate over funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“We’re taking it pretty seriously,” said Dick Kunkel, president and general manager of Spokane Public Radio (KPBX-FM, 91.1 and KSFC-FM, 91.9).

“The real concern is that federal funds help us do our local programs and productions,” said Claude Kistler, general manager of KSPS-7 public television.

Earlier last week, a House committee proposed cutting a quarter of the CPB budget, which would have amounted to a $50,000 cut for Spokane Public Radio.

On Thursday, the full House voted to restore the funding, a victory for public broadcasting. However, the debate is by no means over. Final numbers will probably be negotiated in the House and Senate through July and possibly into the fall.

Only 15 percent of Spokane Public Radio’s budget comes from the CPB. Yet that’s a vital 15 percent, since public broadcasting operations typically run on a shoestring.

“People say, ‘What’s a quarter of 15 percent?’ ” said Kunkel. “But $50,000, I don’t care how you figure it, that means something. For us, it can mean a couple of staff members, including benefits, or a bunch of programs.”

Kistler said his station was originally facing what could have been a 45 percent reduction in federal funds, equal to about a $430,000 drop. After the House vote Thursday, Kistler said KSPS might still be looking at a 22 percent reduction in federal funds, or 5.3 percent of the station’s total budget, because of proposed cuts in other areas.

Kunkel said it’s a delicate situation to handle on the air.

“We’re just saying no matter how you feel about the issue, you should give your representatives and senators a call,” Kunkel said.

Idaho Rep kicks off season

The Idaho Repertory Theatre, the high-quality summer rep institution at the University of Idaho in Moscow, has launched its summer campaign.

The season consists of four productions, three of which are indoors at the Hartung Theatre at UI, and the fourth on an outdoor stage near the theatre. The four plays have staggered openings – the first opened Thursday and the last opens July 14.

Here’s what’s on the schedule:

• “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” a stage adaptation of Robert Fulghum’s best seller about life lessons. This show opened Thursday and continues on various dates through July 31.

• “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),” a high-energy comedy romp through Shakespeare’s plays. It opens June 30 indoors and switches to the outdoor stage from July 10 through July 28, on various dates.

• “The Underpants,” the comedy by Steve Martin about a woman whose knickers fall down, embarrassingly, in a public square. It’s based on a German play by Carl Sternheim. Opens July 7 and continues on various dates through July 30.

• “Hush: An Interview With America,” an inspirational drama by James Still, about a blind woman who “sees” a vision in her backyard. Opens July 14 and continues on various dates through July 31.

These plays are performed on a rotating basis; for the full schedule go to www.uitheatre.com or call (888) 8-UIDAHO. Tickets also are available at that number.

The best of Thomas Hampson

Thomas Hampson, the international opera star from Spokane, has a new CD retrospective collection: “The Very Best of Thomas Hampson,” from EMI Classics.

This two-CD set features Hampson singing arias from Rossini, Verdi, Schumann, Schubert and others.

The reviews have been glowing. Dalia Geffen, in the Web magazine Audiophile Audition, wrote: “One never tires of his velvety baritone and phenomenal control. Hampson is always refined and tasteful.”

The Singing Nuns in concert

The Singing Nuns have scheduled their annual “Cloister Courtyard Concert” for the evening of July 9 at their convent, Mount St. Michael, 8504 N. St. Michael’s Road.

The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and the sisters will conduct tours of the facility until the concert at 7. Other pre-concert entertainment will include art exhibits, harpists and Irish dancers.

The concert finale will be the “Hallelujah Chorus” by Handel. The audience will be invited to join in.

Admission is $5 per person, or $15 per car. Bring blankets and chairs.

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