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WASHINGTON-Big Bird's feather boa or Barney's purple hide may be among early casualties of federal funding cuts for the Corp. for Public Broadcasting.

In the wake of the House Appropriations Committee's vote to cut 15% (or $47 million) from the corporation's 1996 budget and 30% (or $94 million) from 1997, some TV analysts speculate public broadcast stations will reduce airtime.

Morning programming, primarily children's shows, could be the first sacrificed, said Nancy Neubauer, communications director, Association of American Public Television Stations.

National Public Radio also would suffer. Mary Morgan, director-promotions and public affairs, said popular programs like "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" likely will survive, but cultural and news analysis programs may fade away.

To deal with the threatened cuts that are to go to the House floor next week, public TV and radio stations may loosen restrictions on financial underwriters.

Vice President Al Gore has joined the chorus of public programming advocates. "Public broadcasting is part of the American culture," he said in a speech last week at American University. "And if you try and kill it, we will fight you every step of the way."

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