04.27.11

Leahy: VPR Nets 5 Digital Conversion Grants That Will Boost Coverage And Quality Throughout Vermont

(WEDNESDAY, April 27) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says five new digital conversion grants totaling $402,863 will allow Vermont Public Radio to strengthen signal coverage and quality across Vermont, enhancing what already is one of the nation’s premier statewide public radio networks.

The grants are part of $6 million awarded nationwide to local public radio and TV stations by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  In ratifying the work of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, Congress since 2001has appropriated more than $350 million to CPB to help public television and radio stations convert from analog to digital broadcasting.  Leahy has long been a champion of public broadcasting in the funding priorities set by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Following are details of the grants to VPR:

  • $95,000 to increase VPR’s digital signal within its current analog coverage area in northwestern Vermont.  Vermont Public Radio will purchase and install equipment to increase the digital power level at WVPS-FM in Burlington by at least four times its current power level.
  • $27,863 to increase VPR’s digital signal within its current analog coverage area in northeastern Vermont.  VPR will purchase and install equipment to increase the digital power level at WVXA-FM in St. Johnsbury by at least four times its current power level.
  • $95,000 to boost VPR’s digital signal within its current analog coverage area in southern Vermont.  Vermont Public Radio will purchase and install equipment to increase the digital power level at WVPR-FM in Windsor by at least four times its current power level.
  • $95,000 to strengthen VPR’s digital signal in eastern Vermont. Vermont Public Radio will purchase and install equipment to increase the digital power level at WNCH-FM in Norwich by at least four times its current power level.
  • $90,000, to increase VPR’s digital signal within its current analog coverage area in central Vermont.  VPR will buy and install equipment to increase the digital power level at WVXR-FM in Randolph by at least four times its current power level.

Digital radio technology allows local public radio stations to greatly enhance the scope and quality of services they provide to their communities.  Digital radio makes possible “multicasting” -- broadcasting multiple streams of programming from the same transmitter – and also offers richer quality sound.  FM digital radio is capable of providing clear sound comparable in quality to CDs.  Digital radio is also more resistant to interference and eliminates many imperfections of analog radio transmission and reception, particularly in mountainous terrain like Vermont’s.  Digital conversions and upgrades have been underway for several years.  Unlike the digital television transition, there is no cutoff date for analog radio broadcasting.

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