Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has asked FCC Chairman William Kennard to allow rural public broadcasters to find unconventional ways to help them make the expensive transition to digital. "I believe that the Commission should recognize the fiscal challenges facing rural stations and that those rules give the Commission discretion to approve unique DTV conversion plans by public TV broadcasters such as Prairie Public."
A Dorgan spokesman says the senator plans no larger effort to change the rules for all public broadcasters. Prairie Public Broadcasting operates a seven-station network in North Dakota and wants to share spectrum with Reiten Television Inc. to bring commercial and public TV service to 16 counties in North Dakota.
Under current law, Reiten would not be able to advertise on the 49% of spectrum it wants to share with Prairie.