The deadline for the digital television conversion is just over a year away, and the FCC is helping to move the ball forward with a pair of Digital Television Consumer Workshops, to be held at its headquarters in Washington early next year. The first, pegged for 1/31/08, will address concerns about consumers in rural and tribal areas, and the second, scheduled for 2/28/08, will address concerns about citizens with disabilities. Each session is expected to last three to four hours.
RBR/TVBR observation: OK, Rural Americans, Native Americans and Disabled Americans, now is your chance! Let’s all crowd into the FCC conference room in Washington DC and learn about the DTV transition! What? Can’t make it to Washington? Not to worry: About 200 people can pick up a webcast of the event.
We kid the FCC. And the fact is, the FCC doesn’t deserve this kidding in the least — at a minimum, these forums will lend a hand to national and local officials and service organizations working with the targeted constituencies. Let us turn or sights instead on Capitol Hill. Certain elements of Congress have sharply criticized the FCC for its modest efforts at preparing the US citizenry for the transition. Others don’t seem to think it’s a problem at all. The simple fact is that this is the kind of outreach you get when you allocated next to no funding to the Commission. With the 1.5M or so Congress has given the Commission, about all they’ll be able to do is put a picture of the missing analog signal on a milk carton.
We expect that broadcasters and other stakeholders will get this job done, but we remind our friends on Capitol Hill that if they want meaningful action from the FCC, they need to give it something to act with.