President's Proposed Budget Cuts Include $5 Million in Public Broadcasting Grants

Grants are to support rural stations conversion to digital

A Democratic president cutting public broadcasting funds?

The answer is yes. Among the president's proposed $17 billion in budget cuts are $5 million in public broadcasting grants through the USDA. The grants are to support rural stations conversion to digital, but the White House says they can be cut because the transition is "now almost complete."

The administration moved the DTV transition hard date back to June 12, but some TV stations, including noncoms, may still have to invest sizeable sums in translators to help fill in geographic gaps in digital coverage or extent signals to replicate their analog footprints.

Spokesmen for CPB and PBS were not immediately available to comment on the impact of the cut.

Also getting the ax was $66 million for Even Start, a DOE program to encourage childhood literacy. The administration said it shown no measurable outcomes and added that early childhood education "is accomplished through significant investments in proven, more effective programs." One of those would appear to be coming from those noncommercial stations. A just released study in conjunction with DOE, which funds the Ready To Learn program, found that one of the shows getting those grants, PBS Kids' series Super WHY? boosting reading performance and comprehension among RTL's target population of low-income kids.