Dec 4, 2010

$6.2 million in RUS grants go to 13 licensees for digital conversion work

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday (Dec. 3) announced $6.2 million in grants to public television licensees in 13 states to complete digital TV conversion projects. The money comes through the Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program, administered by USDA's Rural Utilities Service. The program provides equipment funding to public stations that serve substantially rural populations.

Work includes a $677,920 project by the Kentucky Authority for Educational Television (KATV) to place digital translators in eight isolated rural communities. A grant to the West Virginia Education Broadcasting Authority for $366,000 will be used for a digital translator to serve a rural part of state that had previously received analog service.

Grants to licensees range from $39,000 to $749,000. A full list is here.

Rep. Eric Cantor: "Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies"

Looks like the "Big Bird defense" (Current, Nov. 29) might not be as effective in preserving public broadcasting funding as it was in the mid-'90s, when the yellow-feathered, towering character showed up on Capitol Hill to save the day. Back then, “it was Big Bird that killed us,” former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R-La.) acknowledged to Fox News just last month.

In an interview published today (Dec. 4) with Americans for Limited Government, Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leader in the effort to defund CPB, said that shows such as Sesame Street "are thriving, multimillion-dollar enterprises.”

“According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file," he added, "Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies.”