FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced a nationwide initiative to increase awareness about the upcoming transition to digital television. The FCC identified target television markets for specific DTV outreach, including all those markets in which more than 100,000 households or at least 15% of the households rely solely on over-the-air signals for television.
Chairman Martin announced that the five FCC Commissioners and other Commission staff will fan out to these and other markets to raise awareness and educate consumers in the days leading up to the digital television transition on February 17, 2009.
At each stop, there will be a public event, such as a town hall meeting, workshop, or roundtable with an FCC Commissioner to highlight the digital transition, and be available to local press. In coordination with these visits, the FCC will work with local broadcasters and radio stations to increase the broadcasts of Radio and TV DTV PSAs. All combined, this outreach is designed to educate consumers in these DMAs and especially those groups that are most vulnerable in the transition: Seniors, People Living Tribal and Rural Areas, People with Disabilities, Individuals with Low-Incomes, Minorities and Non-English Speakers.
Chairman Martin was joined by representatives from the National Association of Broadcasters, Consumer Electronics Retailer Coalition, Consumer Electronics Association, and the National Cable Telecommunications Association for the announcement at the Newseum in Washington, DC, one of the television markets identified. The NAB and members of the DTV Coalition will be assisting the Commission throughout this nationwide tour.
“As part of our efforts to prepare consumers for the transition, we have identified television markets in which the largest number of viewers will have to take action to be prepared for the transition six months from now,” Martin said. “This unprecedented nationwide tour by the entire Commission is part of our commitment to prepare and educate consumers about the digital television transition.”
Recognizing the challenges many viewers in these communities may face, Commissioners unanimously agreed to travel coast-to-coast to hold public events, meet with community leaders, broadcasters, and other stakeholders to highlight steps consumers need to take to be prepared for the transition.
In the coming weeks, an FCC Commissioner will be in the following cities:
Anchorage, Alaska - 8/27/2008
Fairbanks, Alaska - 8/28/2008
Baltimore, Maryland - 9/8/2008
San Francisco, California - 9/11/2008
Austin, Texas - 9/18/2008
Houston, Texas - 9/17/2008
Memphis, Tennessee - 9/19/2008
New York, New York - 9/27/2008
Boise, Idaho - 9/29/2008
Atlanta, Georgia - 9/29/2008
Missoula, Montana - 9/30/2008
Helena, Montana - 10/1/2008
Bozeman, Montana - 10/2/2008
Billings, Montana - 10/3/2008
Nashville, Tennessee - 10/7/2008
Charlotte, North Carolina - 10/16/2008
Denver, Colorado - 10/16/2008
Seattle, Washington - 10/20/2008
Spokane, Washington -10/21/2008
Yakima, Washington - 10/22/2008
Portland, Oregon -10/23/2008
Chicago, Illinois - 11/20/2008
Phoenix, Arizona - 12/29/2008
The Commission will release periodic updates on markets that the Commission will visit as future trips are finalized.
In the days prior to each visit, FCC staffers will be on the ground providing technical and outreach assistance to local broadcasters, community leaders, and other stakeholders, to prepare for the transition to digital. The FCC will also be coordinating with NAB to explore whether these DMAs may participate in a temporary turn off of their analog signals (“soft tests”) to determine consumer readiness of the DTV transition.
The following is a list of areas the FCC will visit prior to February 17, 2009. More information will follow regarding upcoming dates for the remaining cities.
Albuquerque-Santa Fe, New Mexico
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, West Virginia
Charlotte, North Carolina
Cleveland-Akron (Canton), Ohio
Colorado Springs,-Pueblo, Colorado
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Des Moines-Ames, Iowa
El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, NM)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Michigan
Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin
Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina
Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho
Joplin, Missouri-Pittsburg, Kansas
Kansas City, Missouri
La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Los Angeles, California
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York, New York
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Rochester, New York
Saint Louis, Missouri
Salt Lake City, Utah
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California
South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana
Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
Twin Falls, Idaho
Yuma, Arizona-El Centro, California