PBS stations hope for $40 million to digitize


Public broadcasters are keeping their fingers crossed that Congress this week will grant them $40 million for their transition to digital television.

Four Senators-Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)-included an amendment in a larger spending bill that would authorize Congress to give public broadcasters $20 million for the transition in 2001and possibly another $20 million in 2002, in accordance with the White House's budget request.

The amendment probably will run into difficulty in the House, however, because House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is likely to oppose the amendment. Tauzin's committee has jurisdiction over public broadcasting's funding. The Senate passed the spending bill last week and the House plans to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

The bill should go to a conference meeting between the two later this week. - Paige Albiniak