NAB Forms Low-Power TV Committee

The NAB TV board has created a Low Power TV Issues Committee to address the impact of the digital TV transition on the nation’s roughly 2,100 low-power stations and 4,700 translators. It will be chaired by NAB Television Board member John Kueneke, broadcast division president for St. Louis-based News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting.

LPTVs and translators were not included in the original DTV transition, and are not subject to the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline, when full-power stations have to power down analog transmitters. Neither were they included in the channel-selection process in which full-power stations decided whether to stay on their current digital channel designation or more to another one on or around the deadline.

The federal government is developing a subsidy program of up to $1,000 each for translator operators to buy converters to pass through digital signals, but details have not yet emerged.

The NAB TV board also adopted a resolution to educate TV stations and viewers on the predicament of LPTVs and translators. The board directed NAB President and CEO David Rehr to draft a letter to DTV converter box manufacturers urging them to incorporate analog pass-through capability in the devices that will be used to adapt analog TVs for digital reception. Currently, three of 34 converter boxes eligible for a $40 government subsidy have analog pass-through capability.

Committee members include Jim Conschafter, senior vice president of broadcast stations for Media General Broadcast Group; John Eck, president of NBC TV Network and Media Works; Andrew Fisher, president of Cox Television; Douglas Kranwinkle, executive vice president of law for Univision Communications; and Jim Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting Group.