03.01.2004 12:00 PM
USDA awards $15 Million in rural DTV transition grants

The Agriculture Department has announced recipients in 13 states will receive $15 million in grant funds to finance the conversion of television services to digital broadcasting for small rural public television stations.

About half of the nation’s 357 public television stations did not meet the FCC’s May 1, 2003 deadline to initiate digital broadcasting, and have received extensions to May 1, 2004. To assist stations with the transition, Congress recommended in the USDA Rural Development 2003 appropriation bill that $15 million of the $51.9 million in distance learning and telemedicine funds be utilized in support of the DTV transition effort. The funds will be provided through the USDA Rural Development Telecommunications Program.

In Kansas, Smoky Hills Public TV will receive $1.4 million to assist in providing a new tower, building, digital transmission equipment and the associated processing, monitoring, and test equipment. Among the other largest grant recipients: Prairie Public Broadcasting, $2 million; St. Lawrence Valley Educational TV, $1.9 million; West Virginia Educational Broadcast Authority, $1.5 million; West Tennessee Public TV Council, $943,156; Penn State University, $940,814; University of Alaska, $703,000; Florida State University, $575,000; and the Kentucky Authority for Educational TV, $619,008.

For more information, visit the USDA’s web site at: www.rurdev.usda.gov.

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