CommComm set to tee up DTV


The five FCC Commissioners, who just visited the House side of Capitol Hill yesterday, will get a break from the Senate at today's DTV hearing, but one of their colleagues will be there along with the NTIA chief and representatives of minority and senior citizen groups. The hearing, held by the Commerce Committee, kicks off at 10AM with the citizens going first.

Panel I consists of AARP Board of Directors member Nelda Barnett; National Hispanic Media Coalition President/CEO Alex Nogales; and Nancy Zirkin, VP/Director of Public Policy, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. NTIA's John Kneuer, otherwise known as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Communications and Information; and Cathy Seidel, Chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau make up Panel II. TVBR notes the absence of any representatives from broadcasting, cable or satellite.

SmartMedia observation: We suspect that AARP may have its work cut out for it more than the other groups, especially if our Mom is typical of other retired persons. She has the ability to tune out any commercial at will, and may well be immune to any efforts by broadcasters to fully educate citizens about the upcoming revolution in television broadcasting. But in the final analysis, we doubt that the transition will be the complete train wreck that some on Capitol Hill are fearful of, if only because broadcasters have an extremely vested interest in not losing any viewership. Government participation in the process will be welcomed, but one way or another, broadcasters will see that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. But expect alarm bells to be sounded at this hearing, unleavened by the calming influence a witness from the broadcasting community may have been able to provide.