AETN Fundraising Below National Average

The Arkansas Educational Television Network Foundation of Conway said Friday that its fundraising efforts are 50 percent behind projections "due to the recession and the loss of two transmitters," according to a news release.

"The public broadcasting system as a whole - public television and public radio - is struggling with the economic downturn," Allen Weatherly, AETN's executive director, said. "There have been cutbacks and layoffs around the country.

The 356-member Public Broadcast Service system is coming up 30 percent short in donations, Mona Dixon, the AETN Foundation's chief operating officer, said.

The loss of digital transmitters in central and southeast Arkansas has contributed to AETN's struggling more than the national PBS system, Dixon said. The public broadcasters Membership Campaign will continue through March 15. Donations may be made during that time. The foundation is the broadcaster's 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraising arm.

"Our situation is a little more critical than other PBS stations," Dixon said. "We are challenged locally with reception issues due to the federally mandated delay in turning on our digital transmitters - KETS in central Arkansas and KETZ in southeast Arkansas.

"Like other public television stations across the country, our audience has been affected by the tremendous downturn in the economy. Arkansas also has the added challenge of last year's tornadoes and the recent ice storm, which affected many of our local viewers."

Membership costs $30 and $20 for students and seniors, according to the news release. AETN has broadcast in Arkansas since December 1966.