Houston Pacifica station KPFT-FM is preparing to ask the FCC for a third extension on its license renewal, a delay resulting from transmitter damage caused by a lightning strike two years ago. The station, part of the financially troubled Pacifica network, has been struggling to raise funds to replace the transmitter. It has operated at half power since March 2012 and is pursuing its third Special Temporary Authority from the FCC. By failing to operate at full power for so long, the station puts itself at risk of FCC fines. KPFT General Manager Duane Bradley said the internal divisions plaguing Pacifica aren’t helping.
The looming political battle over federal spending — and the possibility of across-the-board budget cuts imposed through sequestration — has prompted CPB to alter distribution of Community Service Grants to stations. The change, implemented after CPB execs negotiated an agreement with the White House Office of Management and Budget over possible sequestration of its $445 million appropriation, boosts the amount of money stations will receive in the first of two CSG checks to be issued by CPB for fiscal 2013. But the second batch of checks, to be issued in March, will be much smaller. How much smaller depends on the outcome of the Nov. 6 general election and whether lawmakers and the Obama administration can work out a deal that would forestall some $1.2 trillion in automatic spending reductions required under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
At least 10 public television stations could be at risk of losing vital CPB community service grants this fiscal year and next because they have not raised the required minimum of $800,000 in nonfederal financial support.