Capital: With federal aid gone, tech fundraising starts from scratch

The evaporation of the Commerce Department’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Program and the dwindling of other funding sources have created a critical situation at stations needing to purchase or update equipment for broadcasting. PTFP had provided public stations more than $233 million in capital funds since 2000. The congressional budget ax fell in April 2011, zeroing out PTFP’s annual $20 million allotment for matching grants. Compounding the problem is the parallel fall-off of state money, which also helped some stations cover equipment costs. At the same time, hardware for the first digital TV installations in the early 2000s is slowly approaching replacement time.