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Dingell Praises Broadcasters for DTV-Campaign Launch Date

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) Monday praised broadcasters for launching their DTV-education public-service-announcement campaign.

The National Association of Broadcasters told B&C late last week that it would launch its national PSA campaign likely by the end of September, while pointing out that some stations had already begun airing their own educational PSAs.

The NAB had talked of a December date, but the trade group said that had always been a "by December" date that would instead now be more like the end of September. That news came as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association had been collecting plaudits for announcing the launch of its own campaign.

A program to redeem coupons for $40 toward a DTV-to-analog converter box (so analog-only TVs can still receive off-the-air signals after the digital switch) begins in January 2008 and the switch to all-digital broadcasting begins in February 2009.

“I am pleased that the broadcasting industry is launching a nationwide campaign to educate consumers about the approaching switch to digital television," Dingell said in an e-mailed statement. "It is reassuring to see the initiative taken by the broadcasting and cable industries to prepare consumers for the DTV transition -- an event that will enhance our nation’s broadcasting system but, if left unadvertised, could cause widespread confusion and frustration. I am encouraged by the broadcasting industry’s early progress, and I hope it will prompt other industries to join in this effort.”