Public TV lucks out at DTV hearings

Public TV stations were the big winners at last week's House
Telcommunications Subcommittee hearing on digital TV.

Eight lawmakers on the panel called on Congress to better fund public
stations' conversion to digital.

"There's a great case for assisting public television," New York
Democrat Eliot Engel said. It was something of a windfall, since public broadcasters
weren't asked to testify and aren't even mentioned in the panel's draft digital-TV

"The expressions of support were very gratifying," said John Lawson, chief
executive of the Association of Public Television Stations.

APTS wants the House to match or better Senate legislation earmarking $50
million next year to help pay for the switch.

So far, the feds have kicked in $140 million of the $1.7 billion conversion
costs, with $771 million coming from state governments and private donors.