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Alaska governor cuts public radio funds, says 'stay tuned' to radios during wildfires

A photo of the McKinley Fire between Talkeetna and Willow, Alaska. Photo by Katie Writer from KTNA radio
A photo of the McKinley Fire between Talkeetna and Willow, Alaska. Photo by Katie Writer from KTNA radio

A small community radio station providing updates on at least two large wildfires burning in Alaska will have its budget slashed after a recent move by Alaska’s Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

In late August, the governor cut $2 million for public radio stations and around $700,000 for public television stations across Alaska. The funding cut happens to coincide with a number of wildfires burning throughout Alaska. In an online post many in the radio industry are calling ironic, Dunleavy took to social media to give an update on the fires and advise people to be careful in the woods near Denali National Park.

He also wrote: "Stay tuned to your radio so you can get emergency updates."

Phillip Manning is a news producer at KTNA, the community radio station in Talkeetna, Alaska. Manning says the community radio station where he works stands to lose a quarter of its budget due to the governor’s move to cut funding for public broadcasting. Meanwhile, Manning has been busy on the Alaskan airwaves sharing information on a number of wildfires burning near Denali National Park.

Manning took a short break to talk with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the funding cuts at KTNA and the ongoing wildfire coverage.