System Technology Assessment

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Any qualified entity may apply.


May 16, 2016

Request for Proposals

Local public broadcasting stations serve their communities in multiple ways, including through the delivery of acquired and locally produced content via broadcast.  As the equipment used to produce and distribute this content continues to age, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting desires to better understand the current state of both public television and radio equipment, and how stations plan for and fund future refresh or replacement needs. 

CPB seeks the services of a consultant(s) (“Consultant”) to evaluate local stations’ current capacities to continue to best serve their local audiences through broadcast by:

  • Surveying public media station general managers and chief engineering staff to determine the:
    • state of the current production and broadcast distribution equipment, including, but not limited to: production and studio equipment, master control equipment and transmission equipment; and
    • financial plans to sustain current equipment and invest in future production and broadcast distribution equipment – both replacement and upgrades as technology evolves.
  • Analyzing collected data and developing a comprehensive report of stations’ equipment and financial capabilities;
  • Prioritizing equipment replacement and related station financial needs using factors such as immediacy of the need for replacement (e.g. end of life/failing equipment), station’s ability to finance the replacement, etc.; and
  • Identifying resource gaps that may impede future sustainability in an evolving media environment and outlining possible solutions for bridging them, grouping and comparing findings among various station cohorts.  

The results of this work will inform CPB’s decision-making as we work to assist stations, and the system as a whole, keep up with technological changes and develop future operating models.

The initial term of the agreement is expected to begin on or before June 15, 2016 and will be completed by December 31, 2016.  The agreement will be renewable at CPB’s discretion for an additional 6 month term, during which the Consultant would provide consulting services related to the project on an as-needed basis.

Please download the Request for Proposals below for detailed information, including application requirements.
PDF icon Request for Proposals405.98 KB

Questions from Potential Respondents, with CPB Answers:

FAQ Topic: 

In Section 3 of the RFP, CPB requests that the Consultant develop a method for data collection. Should the data collection involve information from a complete list of all public broadcasting radio and television stations, or does CPB envision that the Consultant will contact a representative sample of all public broadcasting radio and television stations? If a sample is expected, would you provide the parameters of what constitutes a representative sample?

The data collection will be from as many of the 500 CPB-qualified entities (which operate the 1500 local stations) as possible. While it is not practical to expect a 100% response rate of those surveyed, respondents to this RFP should explain in their proposals their “best outreach methods to ensure high station response rates”. Consultant(s) could employ multiple methods to reach respondents and/or delve more deeply into certain data sets with individual organizations or representative subsets of organizations to inform the final analysis.

Is it correct to assume that the gap analysis for “predicted future needs” would not be completed in the context of the future implications of auction and repacking scenarios, since that information will not be available before the work is completed for the RFP?

Respondents should draw upon their knowledge of the broadcast industry and expertise in current trends to predict the future needs of broadcasting entities. Those needs may be influenced by both upcoming technologies as well as by changing consumer behaviors.

Should any travel costs for the interviewees or panelist be included in the cost proposal, or will those interviewees/ panelists be reimbursed directly by CPB?

As explained in the RFP, interviews will be conducted by phone and/or local travel by the Consultant. Consequently, the interviewees will not be traveling.

Should the Consultant’s analysis include equipment associated with public TV translators? If so, should the Consultant try to factor in any potential impact of the FCC Spectrum Auction and the repacking on these translators?

The spectrum auction is expected to cause severe disruptions to television translators, which is of concern to CPB. However, translators are not a prime focus of this RFP.

Based upon our consultation with our FCC attorneys, surveying stations regarding their broadcast and production equipment could potentially signal their auction strategies. Such communication is prohibited by the FCC as part of its anti-collusion rules. Will CPB identify any procedures or protocols to reduce the risk that CPB, the Consultant, or survey participants might inadvertently appear to be conduits of such confidential information? Or should the Consultant include estimated legal costs for developing such protocols in consultation with CPB? It is theoretically possible that these protocols could make it difficult or impossible to pose the questions needed to obtain the information that CPB is interested in. In this case, would deferring a survey of television stations about their transmission facilities until after the quiet period has expired be acceptable to CPB?

CPB maintains awareness of the possible constraints resulting from the spectrum auction “quiet period.” CPB will work with the consultant(s) chosen to execute the survey work on developing work processes and timelines to avoid anti-collusion vulnerabilities. Such work may result in deferring some or all television station related survey questions until after the quiet period ceases. Although any applicant is entitled to seek legal counsel, CPB will not reimburse individual applicant’s legal costs to develop protocols.