Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced legislation giving local public-TV stations explicit authority to produce local programming using federal funds appropriated to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Under the bill, the CPB would be permitted to award grants for the production and acquisition of local programming. CPB funds also could be issued to help stations produce local digital programming.
The uncertainty over CPB's authority to fund local programming has contributed to a dearth of focused public TV shows viewers' communities, McCain said. In an April 2004 General Accounting Office survey, 79% of public TV stations said the amount of local programming they produce is not sufficient to meet their communities' needs and 85% said they did not have adequate funds for local programming.
The bill would also allow CPB to recoup some federal funds provided to a public broadcast station if the station is sold to a commercial broadcaster. The legislation is part of a larger bill reauthorizing CPB's federal funding. A vote on the bill is scheduled for Thursday