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QUINCY – Dr. Jerold Gruebel, president and chief executive officer of Network Knowledge, announced today that a generous donor from west central Illinois has challenged viewers of public television stations WQEC/PBS Quincy and WMEC/PBS Macomb to raise $150,000 by June 30, 2015. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will match the amount on a two-for-one basis up to the maximum of $300,000.

“It is important for the future of quality public television in western Illinois that those first-time donors, and prior donors, step up to commit new dollars so that Network Knowledge can take advantage of this challenge,” said Gruebel. “It is absolutely necessary that WQEC and WMEC grow its membership. The demands on the budget are greater than ever in our 30 year history.”

Gruebel said that among the contributing factors for the recurring budget crunch was the largely unfunded mandate on public television stations to convert their broadcast signals to digital several years ago. Network Knowledge successfully made the conversion to digital across its platform of stations, but at a heavy cost. Increased equipment and maintenance costs were immediate and the broadcast rights of quality programs such as Sesame Street, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Inspector Morse, Great Performances and Antiques Roadshow continue to escalate. In addition, the state of Illinois has reduced its support of your public television stations by approximately 75 percent in the past six years. In dollars and cents, that is a loss of $915,000.

“This is not about politics,” continued Gruebel. “Cuts in support to our public station by Governor Rauner follow seven consecutive years of cuts from the Quinn and Blagojevich administrations. Our cash flow is critically low. It is vital that we can leverage this challenge grant at once.”

WQEC/PBS Quincy and WMEC/PBS Macomb are part of Network Knowledge, which provides quality public television and educational services through a network of viewer-supporters, volunteers, universities, hospitals and business partners in western Illinois.

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