Sen. Stevens: Unaware of DTV Education Order?

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, asked FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin Tuesday if he had thought at all about asking broadcasters to run messages across their screens—similar to emergency alerts—warning people about the DTV transition.

“Is there any real reason to pursue that kind of approach?” Stevens asked at a hearing on the DTV transition.

Martin explained that the FCC had in fact ordered a comprehensive DTV education plan for broadcasters (and, he said the DTV information shouldn’t look too much like an EAS message, lest it be mistaken for a real emergency.) That March 3 order calls for broadcasters to pick from two plans for getting DTV PSAs, crawls, and other information on the air.

Next, Stevens asked Martin if broadcasters were required to report their DTV educational efforts to the commission. Martin responded that yes, the stations have to file quarterly reports on their DTV education.

Scores of stations have already filed the quarterly reports, which were due April 10.