04.03.2007 08:00 AM
Knowledge of DTV transition low, more education needed, Yager says

Jim Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting and NAB Television Board member, underscored the sizable task of informing the public about DTV transition March 28, telling the House Telecommunications Subcommittee that only 40 percent of Americans know the transition is underway and just 1 percent to 3 percent realize it will be completed February 2009.

Yager told the subcommittee of efforts on the part of the TV industry to inform the public of the DTV switchover.

Broadcasters have launched consumer awareness campaigns, he said, and the NAB has hired a full-time staff to determine where consumers get their information and how best to approach them with news of the transition. On a local level, stations are using public service announcements and will begin to use local talent for community appearances to inform the public.

The TV industry is also working with a coalition of other organizations to spread the word. Besides these efforts, Yager told lawmakers that the industry would work with them to provide information they could use to inform their constituents of the transition.

While calling the National Telecommunications and Information Administration coupon program a step in the right direction, Yager said more must be done to assure that households relying on over-the-air reception don't lose access to television once the transition is made.

He also suggested that the FCC and NTIA consider establishing toll-free telephone access to information to help consumers.

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