Jan 6, 2009

FCC allocates DTV funding

Grassroots organizations targeting seniors, minority communities and persons with disabilities are receiving $8.4 million from the FCC (pdf) to assist those viewers with their DTV transition needs. The groups will sponsor seminars, help with the purchase and installation of converter boxes and staff call centers. Pubcasters receiving funds include WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y. ($202,498) and Iowa Public Broadcasting Board ($223,516). The money is part of Congress' $20 million appropriation last year for DTV conversion outreach.

Experts weigh in on '09 funding

The Chronicle of Philanthropy hosted an online discussion on Jan. 6 focusing on the outlook for nonprofit fund raising, grants and budgets. Participating were experts from New York University's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. One trend: Some foundations are making gifts only to pre-existing partner organizations. And a prediction: Online fund raising will see a huge increase in 2009.

DTV coupon requests go to waiting list

NTIA has reached its $1.34 billion limit for its digital converter box coupons, so new requests are being put on a waiting list, according to Meredith Baker, acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. There are currently more than 100,000 on the list, with thousands more each day. Those on the list probably won't get the $40 coupons until after the Feb. 17 transition.

Congress may eye antenna subsidy

Democratic Virginia Rep. Rick Boucher is expected to introduce in the new Congress this week a DTV antenna subsidy bill. The legislation would subsidize rooftop anntennas for over-the-air viewers to receive digital reception after the transition in February. Boucher's district includes rural viewers without cable access.

Broadcasters ask FCC for more nightlight stations

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Multiple Service Television have asked the FCC to make more stations eligible to run an "analog nightlight" signal for 30 days past the Feb. 17 DTV transition. The nightlight enables stations to run public service programming about DTV, as well as emergency messages. The groups also suggests the commission allow underwriting for the nightlight similar to pubTV. The FCC must vote on implementation requirements for the nightlight service by Jan. 15.