1. Headline
  1. Headline
updated 1/26/2009 7:50:07 PM ET 2009-01-27T00:50:07

Delaying the upcoming digital TV transition for four months would cost public broadcasters $22 million, the PBS system chief estimated on Monday.

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, said she hopes lawmakers keep that in mind as they consider legislation to delay the switch from Feb. 17 to June 12.

The stations will face increased power charges to maintain over-the-air broadcast signals, she said. Many have leases for signal transmitters that were due to expire on the date of the switch over and will have to make new arrangements, she said.

"This is such a tough situation for our stations because they have just gone through a process where they have raised the money to go through this transition," she said.

The Obama administration has sought the delay because the government program to provide coupons for converter boxes needs more money. The boxes are needed for people without cable or satellite TV to continue receiving TV signals after the conversion date. The latest estimate is that more than 6.5 million households are not prepared for the switch over.

The National Association of Broadcasters has not taken a position on extending the deadline. The TV stations don't want to suddenly alienate and lose viewers, but they've also sunk money into preparing for the Feb. 17 transition.

Kerger said that PBS is not supporting either side, but he doesn't want PBS' hardships lost among potential hardships faced by viewers.

"At the end of the day, our interest is public service and we want to make sure that people don't go without television," she said.

There's a possibility that TV networks would be allowed to choose whether to make the switch over on Feb. 17 or delay it, in which case Kerger said it's likely that PBS would allow its individual stations to choose for themselves.

In lobbying for government help to the system, Kerger noted that much of the costs for the digital transition have been paid through fundraising, which in some cases has made less money available for programming.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
  1. Nbc News

    9 things we learned from Brian Williams' Facebook chat

    10/2/2014 1:41:28 AM +00:00 2014-10-02T01:41:28
  1. Noel Vasquez / Getty Images Contributor

    Mila Kunis,  Ashton Kutcher welcome baby girl

    10/2/2014 1:24:09 AM +00:00 2014-10-02T01:24:09
  1. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

    Secret Service director resigns amid scandal

    10/1/2014 7:30:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T19:30:52
  1. Texas Ebola patient had contact with kids

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a press conference on Wednesday that “some school-age children” had been identified as having contact with the man diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the United States. 

    10/1/2014 5:37:52 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T17:37:52