Subcommittee Okays $430 Million for CPB for FY2011

Also adds digital conversion and public radio interconnection money for FY’09.
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A congressional committee has approved advance funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with what would be a $10 million bump for fiscal 2011 if enacted.

The legislation approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education provides CPB a $430 million appropriation for that year; CPB had asked for $483 million for 2011 to be included in the president’s 2009 budget.

The panel also OK’d an additional $40 million for digital conversion and $27 million for the public radio interconnection system for 2009.

In its budget request submitted in February, CPB wrote: “While 95 percent of television transmitters and 75 percent of radio transmitters have been converted, this is only a part of the challenge. Research from fall 2007 indicates that public television stations will require up to $90 million in additional funding to complete their primary stations’ basic transition to digital and they will also need equipment to participate in the Department of Homeland Security’s Digital Emergency Alert System project.”

It also said: “In addition, rural television and radio stations will begin converting over 1,600 translators, which relay the primary station signal to remote areas. Both television and radio stations will also need funding for equipment that will allow them to provide programming on multiple streams to take advantage of their digital capacity.”

CPB asked for $27 million as the second installment of an anticipated three-year $73 million funding request to replace public radio’s interconnection system.

Reacting to the lawmakers’ action this week, CPB CEO Patricia Harrison said the advance nature of the bill helps give public broadcasters “a measure of certainty in their business planning, interconnection funding as well as an increase in funding for digital conversion.”

The bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee, tentatively scheduled for next week. The Senate Appropriations Committee also must act and could vote as early as next week, according to CPB.

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