DTV transition: Positive news fails to erase negatives views


A poll commissioned by the NAB finds that 85% of African-American households are aware of the coming TV switch to a digital format – and improvement of 12% from a few months earlier. Only 32% knew when the change was coming, but that was up sharply from a mere 12% in the previous survey. "From the beginning, broadcasters have paid special attention to educating African-Americans and other minority populations that would be most affected by the transition," said Jonathan Collegio, NAB vice president for digital television transition. “These results show that our dedicated efforts are gaining traction months ahead of the transition.”

However, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) isn’t sure enough is being done. It is appreciative of the efforts by “federal government, the broadcasting industry, retailers, community organizations, and nonprofits,” but jumps on Congress for its lack of funding for DTV education. LCCR pointed out that $9M was spent on the campaign for US Senate in Ohio alone back in 2006, and says that all that Congress has allocated to the DTV education campaign is a measly $5M, despite the fact that its scope is national. It also claims retail upselling and consumer confusion regarding the converter box coupon program are issues that need immediate attention.

RBR/TVBR observation: As we have noted all along, Congress is doing a great job of hauling officials of the FCC and NTIA, along with representatives from the broadcast, cable, satellite, consumer electronics and watchdog communities over to Capitol Hill to air their politically-inspired misgivings, rants and CYA speeches. But when it’s come time to put their money where their mouths are, they’ve been utterly, completely, deafeningly silent. How can an Esteemed Gentleman from Wherever USA sit there with a straight face and criticize somebody from the FCC for not doing enough to publicize the DTV transition when the Esteemed Gentleman has provided no more than a pittance for the task? We hope when all this is over that the non-governmental stakeholders and well-meaning but under-funded federal agencies get the mountain of credit that they will deserve, because they’re getting the job done with virtually no help from Congress. And if there are problems, when the blame game begins, the first place Congress looks should be a mirror.