WASHINGTON – February 14, 2018 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement today commending the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s vote to authorize additional funds for broadcasters repacking their channels following the recently concluded spectrum auction:
“America’s Public Television Stations are delighted that the House Energy and Commerce Committee has recommended additional funds today to ensure that broadcasters repacking their channels will have the resources they need to complete this work in a timely way, educate consumers about the transition, and minimize disruption for their viewers.
“We pay special tribute to the leadership of Chairman Greg Walden for fashioning a bill with broad bipartisan support, in the finest tradition of Congress. And we are delighted that the Chairman and his colleagues have seen fit to honor the memory of their staff director, the beloved Ray Baum, by designating this important legislation the Ray Baum Act of 2018.
“As I stated in my testimony before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology last fall, for the 149 public television stations being repacked, the funding deficiency addressed by the Ray Baum Act is a critical issue that could devastate our system.
“With the final enactment of this legislation, Congress will keep faith with its promise to hold broadcasters harmless in the spectrum auction process recently concluded, and public television stations will be able to pursue their essential public service missions in education, public safety and civic leadership without fear of going off the air for lack of sufficient funds to complete the post-auction transition.
“We commend Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Frank Pallone for their tireless and constructive commitment to ensuring no viewer is left behind by the repack. We also commend Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn and Ranking Member Mike Doyle for their leadership on this issue and their strong support of our stations.
“We look forward to working with both the House and Senate to ensure the necessary funding is quickly secured to help stations in the first phase of the repack meet their transition deadline, now less than 10 months away, and the unanimous vote of the Committee today bodes well for a successful resolution of this very troublesome issue.”
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.