Usda Announces $15 Million In Public Television Station Digital Transition Grants
The Department Of Agriculture has announced the selection of 16 recipients in 13 states to receive $15 million in grant funds to finance the conversion of television services to digital broadcasting for small rural public television stations.
Many rural communities depend on public television stations for services ranging from educational course content in their schools to local news, weather and agricultural reports.
As part of the nation’s transition to digital television, the Federal Communications Commission required all television broadcasters to initiate the broadcast of a digital television signal by May 1, 2003, and to cease analog television broadcasts on December 31, 2006.
About half of the nation’s 357 public television stations did not meet the deadline to initiate digital broadcasting, and have received extensions to May 1, 2004.
To assist stations with the transition, Congress recommended in the USDA Rural Development 2003 appropriation bill that $15 million of the $51.9 million in distance learning and telemedicine funds be utilized in support of the transition effort. Since 2001, the Bush Administration has invested over $88 million to enhance access to rural education, and health care technology through the distance learning and telemedicine program.
To meet the requirements of transition to digital broadcasting, a station must install a new antenna, transmitter or translator, and new digital program management facilities.
If a station is to perform a program origination, which many do, digital cameras, editing and mastering systems are also required.