Skip to main content

Panel: Step Up DTV Conversion

by Paul Kaminski~ April 25, 2006


Talk of the impending conversion to digital television dominated the conversation at this year's Washington Insider Update Panel on Monday morning.

According to panelists, despite the overwhelming presence of DTV here at NAB2006, many consumers still don't seem to recognize that the conversion will happen in less than three years, and that they may be significantly impacted by the transition.

Ryan Walker, senior legislative analyst for Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-OH, told the panel that Gillmor's office "hasn't seen a lot of constituent outcry. Outside the Beltway, most people need to be educated on what impact the conversion should have."

The topic of DTV even had a Hurricane Katrina direction. Adam Sharp, press secretary to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, mentioned the impact DTV could have on New Orleans' residents who might be replacing their flood-damaged televisions with analog sets that would be obsolete in February 2009.

Local New Orleans broadcasters did do an impressive job, however, of cooperating during Katrina and getting information to those who needed it, Sharp said. He especially noted the radio cooperation between corporate rivals Clear Channel and Entercom.

"These corporations put profit aside and put phenomenal resources [in place] to stay on the air and stay in the market," he said.

Other panelists included Jerry Fritz, senior vice president, legal and strategic affairs, Albritton Communications Co., Whit Adamson, president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, and panel chair Shaun Sheehan, Washington VP, Tribune Company, Washington, DC.

© 2006 NAB