FCC Launches AmeriCorp DTV Aid Effort

The FCC is teaming with AmeriCorp's National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) for DTV outreach.

The FCC and NTIA have identified 49 DTV at-risk markets that data suggest are the least prepared for the DTV switch, including the FCC's own hometown of Washington, DC (number 49 on this list).

The FCC, which has asked for $65 million from the stimulus package's DTV money for outreach and other DTV transition-related expenses, said Friday that it had signed an interagency agreement that will send AmeriCorps volunteers (ages 18-24) into the homes of target populations--minorities, elderly, the disabled--to help them connect antennas and converter boxes, or help them apply for the $40 government coupons to buy the boxes.

They will also help with community events and at walk-in help centers, starting with Denver (#15) as a test market. Training begins next week in advance of a mid-April transition for some stations there, including two major network affiliates, according to the FCC. Denver is also home to one of the five NCCC campuses.

The others are Sacramento, Calif.; Perry Point, Md.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and Vinton, Iowa.

FCC staffers will train and coordinate the teams of NCCC members (8-12 members in each community).

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.