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      School program loses funding: the show must go on

      A year ago, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill that lowered residents cable bills, but the savings affected communications programs statewide, including the one at Hannibal High School.

      After losing financial backing, Hannibal High School's Applied Communication department decided the show must go on. Ben Meyer teaches this course. He said this course is very popular with the students.

      The program began when a statute was created allowing local cable companies to charge an extra 25 cents per month to their customers. That money went to a Public Education Government Television Channel ... or PEG channel. In December of 2011, this statute expired, making this process illegal for the cable companies.

      "We no longer collect that money. We used to use that money largely for the school program. They would video tape our council meetings and run them. They would run all the public education government stuff. All the park programs they would advertise. They really ran the channel ... The students did," Hannibal City Manager Jeff Lagarce said.

      The statute brought up to $17,000 a year to the program. For the last year, they have been operating with no money.

      In the class, students get experience in the field of broadcasting and film production, and their work airs on Hannibal's PEG. The school district saw the value of the class and kept it as part of the curriculum.

      Meyer said he will explore grants or even advertising to fund the program in the future.