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CPB Starts Distributing Warning System Grants

Public media in Mississippi and Florida are the first recipients

Broadcasters in Florida and Mississippi are the first recipients of federal money from a new grant program that aims to help public TV and radio stations upgrade their emergency alerting capabilities.

The Next Generation Warning System grants are funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting, a network of eight TV and eight radio stations, will receive up to $221,000 to upgrade its Emergency Alert System encoders “to expand the capacity of and geotarget its emergency alerts throughout the state.”

Indian River State College of Fort Pierce, Fla., is the licensee of IRSC Public Media, which operates public radio stations WQCS, WQCP and WQJS. It will receive up to $165,680 to purchase and install a transmission line and antenna to a tower in Okeechobee, Fla., “improving its ability to broadcast emergency alerts and to expand its coverage to an unserved audience.”

FEMA awarded CPB a total of $96 million over two fiscal years to establish and implement this competitive grant program. The purpose is to help public stations “replace and upgrade infrastructure to expand alert, warning and interoperable communications, creating a more resilient and secure public alerting system.”

CPB said the program prioritizes public media stations serving rural, tribal and underserved communities.

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