Master-control alliance in Florida gets $7 million from CPB

By Dru Sefton

The Digital Convergence Alliance, a single master-control facility in Florida ramping up to serve public television stations in four states with customized programming streams, has received $7 million in support that CPB initially announced last April.

Over the past year, the DCA has grown from six stations to 11 as it worked to secure vendor contracts for a network operating center in Jacksonville. Alliance founding members now include Florida stations WJCT, Jacksonville; WFSU, Tallahassee; WEDU, Tampa; WUCF, Orlando; WBCC, Cocoa Beach; WFSG, Panama City; and WPBT, Miami.  Also, from three other states, WPBA, Atlanta; WTTW, Chicago; WILL, Urbana, Ill.; and KERA, Dallas. Each founding member station has a representative on the nonprofit’s board of directors. JCT Services, a for-profit entity of WJCT, will run the operation.

Susan Howarth, president of WEDU and current DCA Board chair, said the alliance hopes to have several stations online this summer and add one or two per month until all are broadcasting from the facility by the end of 2013.

“We’ve talked to several stations already about potentially being clients,” Howard told Current. “There’s quite a bit of interest.”

The DCA is the second such facility in the pubcasting system. In September 2011, CPB approved $6.6 million for Centralcast LLC to serve all nine pubTV stations in New York state plus New Jersey’s four-station network from one master control in Syracuse, N.Y.

CPB estimates that each centralcast facility could save participating stations up to $20 million over the next 10 years.

This item was first published in Current, June 10, 2013.

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