Financial self-sufficiency is within White Rose Community Television's grasp, according to the York City-owned station's director of regional partnerships.
Steve Busch said Friday that he believes WRCT will raise as much money as it spends in 2013.
As for this year, WRCT will still need some help from the city to plug a gap in its $155,000 expense budget. But, Busch said, the situation's not nearly as bad as some city officials made it sound at a recent meeting.
At a budget hearing Thursday, several York City Council members said there appeared to be an $80,000 shortfall in WRCT's 2012 budgeted revenue. That called into question the station's ongoing goal of achieving self-sufficiency.
Busch, who was behind the camera at the time, said Friday he's not sure where that figure came from.
"I expect to be about $19,000 short, and I'm working on it," Busch said.
The bulk of the WRCT budget is funded by two sources - $60,000 in franchise fees and a $60,000 county contribution. The rest needs to come from somewhere else. Busch said he's working to develop memberships, sponsorships and other donations.
Next year, fundraising should be a bit easier, Busch said, because WRCT will have a whole year to rent its new state-of-the-art studio. The studio in the Rotary Kranich building, 120 S. Lehman St., opened over the summer.
"Part of my plan for next year is to charge for the use of the studio," Busch said.
WRCT was just one of several topics discussed Thursday at the marathon budget hearing. No one's made a formal proposal to cut - or, for that matter, boost - WRCT funding.
But it's been on the cash-strapped city's chopping block before.
WRCT is nearly four decades old. About six years ago, the station transitioned from a volunteer-run organization to a two-person department in York City's budget. The station has faced tough financial scrutiny since.
WRCT films and broadcasts all York City Council, York City School Board and York County Board of Commissioners meetings. Those meetings are then available to watch on WRCT's website, www.wrct.tv.
Viewers can watch weekly shows hosted by backyard wrestlers, atheists and preachers - to name a few.
Anyone is welcome to submit content for broadcast to WRCT. The station reaches about 100,000 homes in York County on Comcast cable channels 16 and 18.
One person who came to WRCT's defense Thursday was city business administrator Michael O'Rourke, who said he believes the station gives residents an opportunity to watch government work.
"I think that WRCT is one of the best things that the city does," he told the city council. "You get to connect with your constituency."
The cost of WRCT to taxpayers is "negligible," O'Rourke said.
"It's not affecting taxes," he said. "And if you eliminate it, you're not going to lower the tax rate."
O'Rourke said he believes WRCT is worthwhile "even if we had to pay for it all ourselves."
- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.