Budget slots over $5M for ‘health and safety’ issues at public broadcasting stations

PBS
Busted generators, faulty HVACs and mildewed tiles to be fixed.

Among the items in the budget under consideration from the Senate: more than $5 million for public broadcasting stations.

The money is earmarked for a specific purpose: remedying what are called “health and safety” issues at the physical plants for these stations around the state.

The biggest single allocation goes to WUFT-TV in Gainesville/Ocala, with $1,242,000 slotted for the ongoing upgrades of StormCenter infrastructure, work that benefits the statewide network of public broadcasting stations.

The next biggest allocation, $741,830, is headed to WMNF of Tampa. That money will replace an “end-of-life” HVAC system.

That wasn’t the only money for a Tampa public broadcaster in this budget. WUSF is set to get $314,200 for an electrical overhaul at its FM transmitter site, as well as $40,000 to “repair and modernize an unreliable passenger elevator.”

And WEDU will get $307,550 to replace ceiling tiles, described evocatively in the budget as “mildewed and unhealthy.”

WUCF-TV in Orlando will receive $500,000 to replace its emergency backup transmitter, while a second Orlando station (WMFE) is slated to get $449,827 to repair and refurbish a failing lift station.

WUWF of Pensacola did almost as well, receiving $475,000 to replace an obsolete backup generator and transfer switch.

WEFS of Cocoa Beach will get roughly $290,000 for three projects. Lawmakers include $130,450 for reinforcement of tower cables. Replacement of an “inefficient HVAC system” is budgeted at $110,000. And another $49,000 is slotted to replace corroded electrical grounding connections.

Panama City’s WKJG will receive $237,000 for a couple of generator replacement projects, affecting both the main and auxiliary transmission sites.

Ft. Pierce’s WQCS is expected to get $183,725 to repair “damaged restrooms” and to replace the sanitation lift station.

Studio floor faults are soon to be a thing of the past at WJCT in Jacksonville. The budget allocates $166,311 to resurface the damaged floor.

The smallest appropriation, meanwhile, goes to the biggest market. Miami’s WDNA is slated to get $13,294 to replace a leaky HVAC air handler.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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