CPB Board okays $7 million for seven-station centralcast project in Florida

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The CPB Board on Tuesday (March 27) unanimously approved spending up to $7 million for a joint master-control project linking six stations in Florida and one in Georgia, similar to its centralcast project in New York state (Current, Oct. 3, 2011). The Jacksonville Digital Convergence Alliance LLC will run one master control for WJCT in Jacksonville; WFSU, Tallahassee; WPBT, Miami; WBCC, Cocoa; WUCF, Orlando; Tampa stations WUSF and WEDU; and WPBA, Atlanta. The facility will be in Jacksonville. CPB estimates cost savings to the stations of $15 million to $20 million over the next 10 years.

Also at the meeting in Washington, D.C., Michael Levy, e.v.p., corporate and public affairs, updated the board on the Appropriations Committee’s request for a report on possible alternative support sources for stations in lieu of federal funding. Levy said CPB has hired Booz & Co. to analyze the short- and long-term impact of the hypothetical elimination of federal funding, as well as revenue outlooks from various sources. Levy said he expects research to be completed by mid-April, which will be shared with stakeholders. A draft of the report should be to the CPB Board by the end of May and is due to Congress June 20. A similar report CPB commissioned in 2010 revealed no high-revenue options that are relatively easy to secure (Current, April 18, 2011).

Tim Isgitt, s.v.p., government affairs, also reported that CPB secured 116 signatories from the House of Representatives on its letter of support for pubcasting funding addressed to leaders of the Labor HHS Appropriations subcommittee. Six Republican members signed the letter, “which is six more than last year,” Isgitt noted.

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