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CPB Seeks Datacast Demonstrations

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has put out a request for proposals for projects demonstrating digital datacast services. It will be its first grant for content, according to Luis Guardia, CPB's senior director for media technologies.

CPB has been focusing on digital infrastructure, but some had been urging CPB  to start looking more at content and services, said Guardia.

Among the suggestions stations are pondering: emergency alert services--one broadcaster is working on a system that would transmit floor plans of burning buildings directly to fire trucks; professional development and distance learning applications. One distance learning suggestion is to take programs, Between the Lions for instance, chop them into informational bits and deliver them to schools.

The 4.7 million comes from a $143.3 million congressional allocation to help noncom radio and TV stations make the switch to digital. CPB has already given out 121.5 million to help stations pay for new digital hardware.

Under a separate grant, The American Association of Public Television stations is already working with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security on an emergency alert system that would ride the public broadcasting services's satellite-to-digital station backbone.