Commission clarifies Third DTV Review R&O viewer notification rule

The FCC May 29 clarified two parts of its recent Report and Order in the Third DTV Periodic Review, including how stations tell viewers they will discontinue analog transmission, notify the public about delays in maximizing DTV coverage and inform their audiences about permanent service reduction and termination.

In December 2007, the R&O established a variety of viewer notification requirements for stations. The FCC clarification, which stems from an Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) and NAB petition, establishes that when more than one FCC-mandated viewer notification is triggered, a station can consolidated the elements required for each into one.

Some of the circumstances triggering station viewer notification obligations in the R&O include not being finished with post-DTV transition facility construction prior to Feb. 17, 2008. Such stations, which will be unable to replicate analog coverage with their digital signal, must begin notifying the public on their analog channel 60 days before the service reduction. Another covers stations permanently discontinuing operation or permanently operating with reduced facilities. Besides establishing when the notices must begin airing, the R&O spells out how often the notices must air as well as the information that must be conveyed.

The commission also clarified that real-time updates to the event information table are not required under the new PSIP standard adopted in the order. The rule adopted in December references the ATSC PSIP Standard A/65C, which doesn’t require real-time updates, the commission said.

For more information, visit