Ag Dept helps equip 19 stations for DTV and HD

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The Agriculture Department yesterday announced $5 million in digital TV equipment grants to pubTV stations in 19 states. In less-populated areas, the department’s Rural Development grants have been supplementing the Commerce Department’s annual Public Telecommunications Facilities Program aid. Central Michigan University’s six-station network (WCMU and kin) covering the upper half of lower Michigan received the biggest sum, $750K for new digital production equipment, including a satellite uplink truck. Among the bigger checks are those payable to Northern Michigan University, the Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota and Nebraska networks and KEET in Eureka, Calif. For info on the grant program, see here. Last month, another program in the agency gave grants totalling $15 million for broadband facilities to rural communities, cable companies and Indian tribes.