GAO report puts DTV front and center


The Government Accountability Office has come up with a list of items which will require the immediate attention of the incoming administration of Barack Obama and the 111th Congress. Prominently on the list: the DTV transition. GAO took the occasion to launch a new website that details key elements of the transition of power in Washington.

The items were in fact listed in a particular order, but it wasn’t a ranking based on importance or urgency; rather, it was alphabetical – and since GAO headed off this item with the word “transition,” it was the caboose of the list. Broadcasting figured in another of the total of 13 items, but only as it relates to State Department issues, under the heading Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting. The digital television transition is scheduled for 2/17/09.

Here is GAO’s complete list:

• Caring for Service Members

• Defense Readiness

• Defense Spending

• Food Safety

• Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

• Oversight of Financial Institutions and Markets

• Preparing for Large-Scale Health Emergencies

• Protecting the Homeland

• Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting

• Retirement of the Space Shuttle

• Surface Transportation

• The 2010 Census

• Transition to Digital TV

RBR/TVBR observation: There are only about 100 days left before analog television is shut off. We expect that the FCC, NAB and local government agencies and public interest groups will all pitch in, but we also strongly recommend that each and every television station has all hands on deck and plenty of open phone lines available to make sure that the audience you serve on 2/16/09 is still there when push comes to shove the next day.