House panel ready to get back to work on DTV


The John Dingell (D-MI)/Ed Markey (D-MA) Show is not reliant on Hollywood writers, and it is ready to go on national TV (C-SPAN, most likely) to take the latest pulse and temperature readings in regards to the DTV transition. The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet hearing will convene about a year and a week prior to the demise of analog broadcast television.

"As the one-year countdown to the DTV transition approaches, it’s time to make sure every American household will be able to take advantage of the great benefits this transition promises," said Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. "Right now, I am not confident that government agencies, retailers, broadcasters and all other stakeholders are taking all the steps necessary to ensure consumers are adequately informed and ready for this transition. The Committee will continue its oversight of the DTV transition process until the big day arrives and afterwards, if needed, to ensure consumers are not left behind."

Dingell also fired off a "dear colleague" letter urging all members of Congress to take steps to get the word out in their districts. He also detailed basics such as the converter box coupon program.

TVBR/RBR observation: We do not share Dingell’s lack of confidence. . There are loose ends to tie up (and some of them are the responsibility of government decision-makers, like decisions on multicast carriage and protecting low power television). But  we fully expect broadcasters to do whatever needs to be done to make sure the transition is a smooth as possible. So let the hearings roll. They will provide an excellent opportunity to restore Chairman Dingell’s faith in the civic-mindedness of the broadcasting community. (Shhhhhh! We don’t need to tell him it’s being taken care of for business reasons.)