October 13, 2011

Gillibrand Announces More Than $6.6 Million for Cutting-Edge Broadcasting Facility at WCNY

Project Will Save Local PBS Stations $25 Million in Operating Costs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a $6,640,287 grant to consolidate the broadcast operations of the nine New York State public television stations into a single facility at WCNY in Syracuse.  The project is expected to save participating stations more than $25 million in operating costs over the next decade, savings that will be invested in increasing local content and services, including  much-needed K-12 educational activities, local election coverage and second channels, such as the Spanish-language “V-Me” service. 

“This is a great investment for the region,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This funding will help cut costs for broadcasters and ensure families across New York continue to receive access to quality educational programming. I will continue working to encourage investment in our state’s technology and future.”

“Over the years, New York State’s public television stations have worked cooperatively to achieve operational savings and deliver educational programs and services to teachers, students and parents. Our Joint Master Control initiative represents a continuation and extension of these collaborative efforts,” said Robert J. Daino, president and CEO of WCNY.  “In this very difficult fiscal climate, consolidation of our master control operations will result in considerable operational savings, insuring our ability to continue to make available the types of community engagement, education programs and other services that will improve teacher quality and ultimately student performance.”

The funding is allocated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to Centralcast, LLC, a collaborative of public television stations formed by  the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (WCFE, WCNY, WNET, WLIW, WNED, WMHT, WPBS, WSKG and WXXI). The grant is part of CPB’s ongoing effort to help public media stations operate more efficiently and generate cost savings that can be invested in increasing local content and services, and serves as a model for those public stations around the country that want to benefit from economies of scale in a challenging economic environment.

Funding for this grant is drawn from the CPB Digital program, which since 2001 has helped local stations use digital transmission technology and other digital platforms to provide an expanded public service to their communities.  The new master control facility will help WCNY transform an empty warehouse on the edge of downtown Syracuse into its new broadcast home.  The 56,000 square foot space will also house television and radio production studios, a learning center, a concert auditorium, and other amenities. The nine stations will retain full control of their broadcast schedule but the funding will allow Centralcast to automate the on-air operations at the proposed Syracuse facility.