NAB Goes to Bat for LPTV

At its annual meetings this week, the NAB Television Board approved a resolution to help publicize the plight of low-power television stations during the final year of the DTV transition.

The resolution directs NAB President David Rehr to send a letter to DTV converter box manufacturers urging them to include analog pass-through capability in the boxes; ask full-power broadcast stations to help explain to viewers how low-power stations and TV translators and TV translators will be affected by the DTV transition and to include this information in their PSAs; and to direct the association to help identify areas where large numbers of viewers could continue to receive analog signals from low-power and TV translators after the transition.

The issue of low power television’s status in the DTV transition and the lack of converter boxes that include analog pass-through has been catching fire as of late and FCC commissioners are starting to listen. Out of 32 DTV converter boxes currently approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Association—the government agency tasked with managing the converter box program—only three include analog pass-through, Commissioner Michael Copps said Thursday. He asked for input about how to deal with the status of LPTV stations during a speech at a meeting in Washington this week focusing on DTV consumer education outreach to rural areas and tribal lands.

The Community Broadcasters Association, which represents low-power TV stations, has said that if the analog pass through issue is not resolved by the end of February, it will seek judicial relief.