NAB Responds to Wall Street Journal Criticism on DTV Transition

National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Edward O. Fritts wrote a letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal titled Don't Leave Millions of TV Viewers Stranded . The letter was in response to a Sept. 27 "Portals" column by Lee Gomes on the digital television transition titled "Broadcasting Lobby, Ex
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National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Edward O. Fritts wrote a letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal titled Don't Leave Millions of TV Viewers Stranded. The letter was in response to a Sept. 27 "Portals" column by Lee Gomes on the digital television transition titled "Broadcasting Lobby, Exercising Its Clout, Hangs On to Spectrum." Fritts says "Lee Gomes misses the central point of an orderly DTV transition, which is to protect millions of Americans from losing access to local TV stations that are free of charge to consumers."

Fritts continues, "There are 73 million television sets in use in America connected neither to cable nor satellite, 45 million of which are in homes that rely exclusively on local, 'over-the-air' stations as their sole source of television. These stations provide more than just entertainment; as hurricane-ravaged Florida residents can attest, they provide lifesaving information to communities in crisis." He noted that Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said, "local citizens know they can rely on radio and television stations as a lifeline service in the event of terrorist acts, tornado alerts and natural disasters."

Fritts ended the letter saying, "Broadcasters are doing their part to bring the next generation of TV to American homes. We are committed to completing the digital transition, and we stand ready to work with policy makers in support of a compromise that doesn't disenfranchise millions of consumers who could be left stranded by a premature end to analog television."