The Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority voted Tuesday (June 26) to transition WSBE/Rhode Island PBS from a state licensee to a community licensee, the station said in a statement on its website. The vote followed approval of the state budget that extends the station's funding only through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2013.
"We are pleased that the state budget restores much of the funding WSBE needs to give us the time necessary to execute a comprehensive and viable plan for alternative funding and operating strategies, without crippling the station during the process," said WSBE President David Piccerelli. He estimates the FCC application and review process for the license transfer could take up to 90 days.
Authority Chair Michael Isaacs called the board's action "an important first step toward WSBE's independence."
The station already has one unique revenue stream: It receives $200,000 annually for its management oversight and operational support of the state's public access channels (Current, May 29).