CBA Fires Up LPTVers in Vegas

The Community Broadcasters Association its annual spring meeting during last week’s NAB activities in Las Vegas.

The event featured several presentations of interest to low-power television broadcasters, including pending litigation against DTV converter boxes that block access to Class A and LPTV off-air transmissions, new mobile video opportunities and FCC “localism” proposals that could impact community broadcasters.

Peter Tannenwald, CBA legal counsel, said that after numerous meetings with government agencies, a lawsuit had been filed to block distribution of DTV converter boxes which did not have a means for bypassing off-air analog signals from low power and Class A stations that will remain in service after next February’s ban on analog broadcasting by full power stations.

“Every station should be running DTV PSAs, whether CBA’s spots or their own, telling the public to buy only analog pass-through converter boxes and to complain about their tax dollars being spent to subsidize devices that block our signals,” said Tannenwald. “When the FCC ordered that TVs and devices with TV tuners have digital tuners, it said that it would be ‘absurd’ to interpret the All Channel Receiver Act of 1962 as requiring anything other than the ability to receive and display all TV stations, no matter what their format. It is equally absurd, if not more so, to allow and to promote the sale of boxes that actually cut off access to 80 percent of the nation’s TV transmitters.”

Tannenwald also addressed the FCC proposals to advance “localism” as they could impact on CBA members, saying that these “fly in the face of modern technological advances” and could require a 24/7 staffing of studio facilities, location of the main studio within the community of license, filing increased amounts of paperwork and other burdens for the low power and Class A broadcasters.

The meeting also featured remarks on digital broadcasting and mobile television opportunities by Brian Cabeceiras, Harris Broadcast Communications vice president for strategic marketing and technology.

The CBA represents more than 2,900 Class A and LPTV stations.