NAB Asks President Bush to Step up to the DTV Plate

NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr sent a letter to President George W. Bush this week appealing to the powers that be to compliment broadcasters efforts and take on a more active and visible role in getting the word out about the digital transition. Rehr compared it to that of the effort for the Year 2000 (Y2K) changeover.

“The DTV transition will fundamentally change the way the American people get news about their communities, emergency situations and entertainment. We want to enlist the help of the federal government and the Administration to ensure that happens as seamlessly as possible,” Rehr said in the letter.

Rehr said so far about 80 percent of consumers are aware of the transition that will occur on Feb. 17, 2009, however many people are still learning about the options to receive a digital signal. To compliment NAB’s campaign that includes on-air, online and grassroots initiatives, Rehr is asking President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney to participate in a DTV educational TV spot, include a link to DTV information on every government Web site, display DTV transition posters in all U.S Postal Service offices, include DTV transition flyers in government checks and in all government payroll statements, and produce a DTV transition postage stamp authorized by the U.S. Postal Service.

Rehr said the combined efforts would make it as successful as Y2K, a bug that was a potential time bomb for all major computer applications. Information technology companies around the world spent billions of dollars to fix the problem and inform the public. As a result of this joint effort, no major problems were reported.

“We will need a similar effort of such scale for the DTV transition to succeed,” Rehr said.