September 10, 2006 — Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) was awarded a $138,106 Rural Utility Service (RUS) grant by the Department of Agriculture to provide digital broadcasting services to Baker City and the Baker Valley and also support a pilot project using digital technology to improve educational services in the Baker City schools.

OPB currently operates an analog translator (K48DC) serving Baker City and will build a companion digital translator on channel 20. In addition, OPB will install datacasting equipment to receive needed educational content to all seven K-12 schools in rural Baker City, Oregon. The necessary components of this project should be in place with training and testing completed before the beginning 2007 school year.

This partnership with educators in Baker City and the RUS will assure digital services will thrive for years to come in the community and help deliver new and specialized content and training to students and teachers.

In addition to bringing digital television, including high-definition television, to the Baker City area, OPB will connect the area to a wide variety of resources including a considerable library of Oregon-specific content, connectivity to television facilities and resources within the State Capitol in Salem, the Oregon Health Sciences University medical facilities, the Portland Public Schools (the state’s largest school district), and most of Oregon’s public two and four year colleges in the Willamette Valley.

Up until 2002, OPB received support from state government to help operate its rural statewide television network. However, due to revenue shortfalls, that funding was eliminated, putting OPB’s ability to maintain services to rural Oregon in serious jeopardy. This project will demonstrate the merit and efficacy of content delivery via DTV broadcasts to the rural regions of the state and be invaluable for building a rationale to request the restoration of the government funds necessary to replace and update the equipment needed to operate a new DTV statewide translator system (more than 40 need to be converted) to provide new and continuing services to rural Oregonians.

About OPB
OPB is the state’s most far-reaching and accessible media resource, providing free access to programming for children and adults designed to give voice to community, connect Oregon and its neighbors and illuminate a wider world. Every week, over 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB’s television, radio and Internet delivered services. As the hub of operations for the state’s Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. Oregon Public Broadcasting is a atewide network that includes OPB Television, an affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and OPB Radio, presenting local news coverage and the programs of National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI) and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is