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CPB Expands Assistance For Stations Affected By Katrina

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has provided more than $1 million in immediate assistance to public television and radio stations in the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama affected by Hurricane Katrina. "Now more than ever, people in these states need the reliable information, community services, and local news public broadcasters provide," said Patricia S. Harrison, CPB president and CEO. "We're determined to do everything we can to help these stations serve their communities' needs."

Created by Congress in 1967, the CPB is a private, nonprofit organization that provides funds to public TV and radio stations, including PBS and NPR stations.

In late August, the CPB originally made 23 grants totaling $582,000 to public radio and television stations throughout the area, and then added an additional $500,000 in funds to the effort in mid-September. Among other things, the funds have helped cover payroll at the New Orleans television and radio stations and helped with the costs of emergency power generation.

Grants have also been used for expanded local news coverage of the storm and to repair or replace damaged broadcast equipment, among other things. The second series of grants will help stations continue to provide services during what is likely to be an extended recovery period.

Public broadcasting stations around the country continue to pitch in to help their colleagues with equipment, professional assistance, and fundraising support. Stations are also providing information to evacuees and working with relief agencies to inform the public about where to donate and how to help.

Additionally, CPB is seeking emergency supplemental funding from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Congress to help stations meet their needs with what are likely to be sharply reduced revenues.

In other CPB news, in late September the CPB board of directors elected Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines to one-year terms as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the nine-member board. In August 2002, Halpern was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as a director of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She is past chairman of the Audit and Finance Committee of the CPB. Gaines was named to the CPB board as a recess appointment by President Bush in December 2003, and confirmed by the Senate in November 2004 to a term ending in 2010.