Public Media Co., WGBH business unit to launch first pubmedia purchasing service

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CPB is backing a cooperative purchasing service for public broadcasters in an effort to reduce costs and eliminate duplicative procurement work among stations.

Public Media Co. and WGBH’s business services unit will run the service. CPB is providing $250,000 for the venture, which is a first in public media. Details of the initiative will be discussed at PBS TechCon in Las Vegas Wednesday, said a WGBH spokesperson.

A system technology survey conducted by CPB last year identified a shared purchasing initiative as a priority for stations, said Ted Krichels, SVP of system development at CPB, in an announcement. Leveraging the system’s collective purchasing power will offer “a way and means for reducing stations’ costs for equipment, software and services,” he said.

The service also will allow stations “to use their resources most effectively to serve their local communities, and help strengthen public broadcasting” for the future, said Ben Godley, president of WGBH Business Services.

Marc Hand, Public Media Co. CEO, said the one-year grant from CPB will fund administration costs, travel expenses and a staff of around four employees. Hand said Public Media Co. “strongly believes” the effort will become self-supporting. Details on how stations will pay for the service are still being worked out, Hand said.

The service will also serve as a resource for the system on technology advances and updates on products and equipment. An advisory board with representatives from a cross-section of radio and TV licensees and organizations will provide input.

Stations executives may request more information.

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