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02.18.2009 12:00AM
Digital-Only Stations Still Must Educate
Stations that shut down their analog signals as of Feb. 18 will still need to provide consumer education for the next six weeks, a D.C.-based law firm is reminding broadcasters.

New requirements for consumer education about the DTV transition were put in place a year ago by the FCC and are still in effect, according to David Oxenford in a posting on broadcastlawblog.com, which is published online by the DC communications law firm Davis Wright, Tremaine LLC.

“Based on the current rules, the obligation to continue the education efforts extend through March 31st,” the Web site noted. “So even if stations shut off their analog signal today, the digital station should continue airing the 16 PSAs per week, 16 crawls per week, the 30 minute long format program, etc., on their primary digital channel.” Stations must also file a Form 388 by April 10, informing the FCC of their consumer education efforts during the first quarter of the year.

The NAB announced this week that it was making available to all full power stations a video in English and Spanish that explains the basics behind the DTV transition and demonstrates how to hook up converter boxes, properly position antennas and scan for channels. The 8 1/2 minute long tape is open captioned for people with disabilities. The video can be viewed here. NAB also recently distributed a new TV spot to TV stations highlighting the June 12 extended analog shutoff date.

The IEEE’s Broadcast Technology Society (BTS) has underwritten part of the production cost of a television program specifically geared to assisting off-air television viewers adapt to digital reception. The association produced the piece in conjunction with Iowa Public TV and the video is available for those stations who wish to carry it. It is available online here.

Approximately 421 full power stations planned to terminate their analog signals on Feb. 17, bringing the total number of U.S. stations that have gone all digital to 641.


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