West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been awarded a $750,000 competitive grant to replace all equipment in its main Charleston studio and record and transmit local programs in high definition.
This grant was very competitive -- we received about a quarter of all funding available this year! And it will transform what we can do from our Charleston studio in two ways:
1. We will finally be able to replace our failing, 25-year-old equipment.
It's so old, our engineers have to go to hobbyists on e-bay to find parts.
Our current cameras date back to 1988. We know this because they were bought after a debate between then-Gov. Arch Moore and challenger Gaston Caperton. As the story goes, the color on one of the cameras was off, making the candidates appear green. Soon after, money was found to purchase the "new" cameras, which we still use to this day.
We've had some quality issues in the last two years with our broadcast of the Legislature Today. Occasionally, a red vertical line appears across the screen that we can't get rid of. By this time next year, all those worries should be gone.
2. We will be able to record and broadcast locally-produced shows such as ‘The Legislature Today’ in HD.
...as well as our town hall specials, and election debates, and even the West Virginia Lottery drawing, which we produce daily from our Charleston studio.
The grant application received bi-partisan support from Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.
Capito said that as a regular PBS viewer, she was delighted to support West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s mission to provide high-quality educational and community programming to West Virginians and surrounding states.
“Grants such as this invest in the people of West Virginia, improve our local communities and help our economy grow,” she wrote.
USDA Rural Development awarded the grant through the Public Television Digital Transition Grant program. For more information on the grant, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_dtv.html.