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Concern for Public Stations: Is PTFP at Risk?

Concern for Public Stations: Is PTFP at Risk?

A public broadcast organization is expressing concern over the future of the PTFP program, which many public stations use to fund facility improvements.
The Association of Public Television Stations issued a statement of disappointment over the outcome of Wednesday’s House Appropriations Subcommittee markup of an appropriations bill. Although the group focused on the impact on TV, the funding program affects radio as well.
“The House Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee essentially zero-funded the entire PTFP program, and that is going to have an immediate, negative impact on the ability of public television stations to deliver important new services their communities.”
The association said, “The action by the subcommittee sends a very mixed signal to public television. On one hand, Congress mandated that our stations transition to digital broadcasting or soon go dark. Then the subcommittee today basically pulls the rug out from under the key source of matching funds to help our stations complete the transition. If not changed in the final bill, this cut to PTFP essentially makes digital conversion an unfunded federal mandate.”
Grants are provided to public TV and radio stations through the Public Telecommunications Facilities
Program by the National Telecommunications Information Agency within the Department of Commerce. The program distributed $42 million last year to TV and radio stations.