President Needs To Talk DTV

President Barack Obama recorded a message to air on TV network Univision Thursday night during its Latin music awards show.

When I first heard about it, I assumed it would include some mention of the DTV transition. That’s because on Thursday, Christopher Wood, VP and senior legal counsel and chief DTV compliance Officer for that selfsame Univision, was testifying before Congress on the importance of reaching out to its Hispanic viewers about the transition.

Spanish-speaking households are more likely to be analog-only, and a greater percentage are not yet ready for the DTV transition than the general population. And Univision is an acknowledged leader in DTV education to the Hispanic community.

It is the Obama administration after all, that pushed hard and successfully for moving the DTV transition date to June 12 to provide more time for education as well as to unclog the constipated coupon progra, arguing that it was necessary to avoid dislocation for analog-only viewers, particularly DTV at-risk populations like minorities.

At least according to the White House transcript, his Univision statement made no mention of the transition. It was a lost opportunity to talk to a presumably large analog-only Hispanic audience. Univision has been blanketing the airwaves with PSA’sa and programming, but a message from the president puts an important exclamation point on the importance of getting those boxes and trying them out.

As far as I know, except for a statement issued upon passage of the DTV date-changing bill, the president has not availed himself of any of his public fora–prime time press conferences, digital town meetings, the Tonight Show appearance, the Univision statement–to urge viewers to ready themselves for the DTV transition.

If he has, I am happy to be wrong and would welcome a link to the video or statement.

If not, I would encourage the president to add a DTV shout-out to his next stump speech or entertainment show appearance.

The White House had not responded to an e-mailed query at press time.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.