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FCC Urges Full Staffing of DTV Call Centers

The FCC put out a public notice Tuesday reminding TV stations that they need to let the commission know the local number to which the FCC can refer DTV transition calls if need be.

In the reminder, posted on the FCC's Web site Tuesday, the commission also urged stations to "fully staff" their call centers in the hours and days after the June 12 DTV transition hard date. The FCC pointed out that its national call center would be going 24/7 in the days surrounding the transition.

The notice did not say how many days after June 12 stations were supposed to keep the phones fully staffed, but the commission did say that stations pulling the plug on analog between 6 p.m. and midnight should have adequate staffing through the weekend, since some viewers might not have had a chance to test for problems until after business hours.

The FCC is allowing stations to go anytime during the day. At a DTV briefing last week, FCC Associate Media Bureau Chief Eloise Gore said that the majority of stations--447 of them--had opted to pull the plug between 6 p.m. and midnight (11:59:59 technically).

The commission called full call center staffing by broadcasters "of the highest importance." It reminded them that "all television broadcasters have an obligation to serve their local communities," and said that "assisting viewers through the transition is an essential public service that local broadcasters are best positioned to perform."