Public broadcasters to bag digital funds

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Public broadcasters are expected to win $20 million in 2001 toward their transition to digital, after the House votes this week on a catch-all funding bill, sources say.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and ranking member John Dingell (D-Mich.) agreed to leave the Senate-sponsored language in the broader spending bill already passed by the Senate. Public broadcasters also were hoping Congress would grant them another $20 million toward the transition for fiscal year 2002, but congressional negotiators decided against that.

Also included in the bill's report language, which is not law but demonstrates the will of Congress, will be several paragraphs instructing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to explain to the House Energy and Commerce Committee why funding is inequitably distributed among public TV stations, House staffers say. "It is the committee's intent that a priority for future increases in the CPB appropriation will be to ensure an equitable relationship between community service grants and PBS costs," the proposed language reads.
- Paige Albiniak

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