Grant Funding Helps with MPBN Upgrades 

Some Bangor middle school students got to take a tour of the Maine Public Broadcasting building on Tuesday. They were there, as a big announcement was made. The world of radio and television can be a lot to take in if you’re not used to it. ” It’s very confusing to me and I’m not sure how these people do it, so they’ve got to be pretty talented,” said Destiny McGraw-Low a 6th grader from the James F. Doughty School in Bangor. Students from the James F. Doughty School got to check out how things work at Maine Public Broadcasting. ” I think touring the building was really fun because I didn’t know that all this stuff happened in this one little building,” said Kyle Hyland-Cocoran, an 8th grader. So much happens in the building that some major upgrades need to happen. ” The newer technology will allow us to expand some of the things that we do,” said Gil Maxwell, chief technology officer with MPBN. MPBN is getting a $750,000 USDA Rural Development grant. ” Grant money in particular is very hard to come by, so to get a grant of $750,000 is just exciting, said Virginia Manuel, state director with USDA Rural Development. The funding will be used to replace old microwave equipment throughout the state. Microwave is a way to move information from one point to another. ” We can’t run a cable from here to Ft. Kent, so we have to have a way to get it from here to Ft. Kent to feed those transmitters,” explained Maxwell. The upgrades won’t expand MPBN’s coverage area, but will provide more reliable coverage throughout the state. ” In the old days we could hear distortions, we could see things happening, we could see the microwave fade out, we could see it go to noise and come back. Today, with digital, all the problems appear the same. They disappear,” said Maxwell. The students agree that the new equipment will be a good thing for MPBN. ” I think that the new microwave system is going to help a lot,” said Hylan-Cocoran. The goal is to have the new microwave systems throughout the state sometime this summer.