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D.C. Broadcasters Work in Tandem on DTV Spots

“The transition to digital broadcasting is coming, so be prepared.”

That’s the simple (yet still somehow allusive) message that eight commercial TV broadcasters in the Washington, D.C., region (DMA no. 9) are “roadblocking,” airing it simultaneously in order to spread the word about the upcoming transition one year from February.

The locally produced spots that began airing on Nov. 14 are not identical: Each was produced by the participating stations using their own news talent. According to NAB’s newsletter for its TV members, the Washington-area stations (which also serve as the “local” stations for members of Congress, the FCC and the White House for much of the year) include: WRC (NBC); WTTG (Fox); WJLA (ABC); WUSA (CBS); WDCA (MyNetwork); WDCW (CW); WFDC (Univision); and WZDC (Telemundo).

The educational spots began airing in, or adjacent to, local news content during the Wednesday (5 a.m.), Thursday (5 p.m.) and Friday (6 a.m.) programming of most of the stations. (My Network TV and CW stations roadblocked the spots at noon and 6 p.m., Wednesday and Friday.)

NAB said a similar schedule also will air this week (Nov. 21–23). Other major markets may air similar joint campaigns in the months ahead.

The broadcaster’s initiative comes in the wake of occasional chiding by some members of Congress and the Bush administration that much of the public still remains in the dark about the analog turn-off looming in early 2009.