Noncoms Want More Money - Broadcasting & Cable

Noncoms Want More Money

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The heads of the major noncommercial broadcast organizations said the funding levels of the current Corporation for Public Broadcasting Reauthorization Bill could "jeopardize" their services' effectiveness.

The bill, introduced by Sen. John McCain and expected to be marked up next week, would fund CPB through 2011 at $416 million for FY 07; $432 million for FY 08; $450 million for FY 09; $468 million for FY 10 and $487 for FY 11.

It would also allocate $140 million over four years for programming and equipment related to the digital transition (through 2009, the FCC's proposed giveback date if all goes well), as well as $50 million for satellite interconnection systems in 2005, with the same amount annually, plus a 4% annual raise, through 211.

Noncom execs had argued in a Tuesday hearing on the bill that the DTV and interconnect allocations were crucial and they said in their statement that they were grateful for the funds, as well as for McCain's efforts on their behalf.

"We urge that the Committee consider increasing funding levels," they said .  "As the committee heard in testimony at Tuesday’s reauthorization hearing, we have tremendous opportunities to use television, radio and the Internet to deliver new levels of public service, as long as we have the resources to do so."

Making the plea were CPB President Kathleen A. Cox; Kevin Klose, President and CEO, National Public Radio; John Lawson, President and CEO, Association of Public Television Stations; and PBS President/CEO Pat Mitchell.

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