NAB to Launch DTV-Education PSA Campaign This Month

The National Association of Broadcasters said Thursday that it would start its digital-TV-education public-service-announcement campaign by the end of this month.

The target date had been December, but Jonathan Collegio, who is heading up the campaign for the NAB, said that had always been a "no later than" date.

"Spots will likely be distributed to broadcast stations by the end of September," he told B&C. "Stations will also be getting loads of DTV-video footage for newscasts.”

That news comes as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association announced that it would launch its own DTV-education PSA campaign this week. Key legislators praised the NCTA announcement and said they hoped others would follow suite.

That campaign -- which advised that cable would take care of the transition for its customers and touted the crisp digital pictures of the wired medium -- prompted a letter from NAB president David Rehr to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin.

The NAB argued that since cable has "created an expectation that its subscribers will continue to receive local broadcast signals after the transition," the FCC should ensure that promise by adopting a "viewability" proposal from Martin, backed by broadcasters, to "ensure" that cable delivers a viewable TV station signal after the DTV transition.

“On a day in which the cable industry announced the launch of a voluntary $200 million campaign to educate all consumers about the broadcasters’ digital TV transition, " said NCTA in response, "it’s too bad that the broadcasters have chosen to focus on a regulatory ploy and unconstitutional mandate that already has twice been decided by the FCC."

The commission is scheduled to vote on the issue next week.

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.