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NTIA Offers Stations DTV B-Roll

With the National Telecommunications and Information Administration set to start sending out digital-TV-to-analog converter-box-subsidy coupons Monday, the NTIA is making it easier for broadcasters to mark the date with news stories.

In a release in which Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez proclaimed the program on track -- the NTIA began accepting coupon applications Jan. 1 -- the NTIA also supplied stations with information on where they could get nine minutes’ worth of b-roll of the Feb. 7 converter-box kickoff event at a Best Buy in Washington, D.C. (satellite: AMC-15; transponder: 03; band: KU analog; downlink frequency: 11760 V.).

The footage includes: Gutierrez's remarks; a customer redeeming a coupon to buy a box; a coupon itself; footage of analog TVs and converter boxes; and general b-roll.

Gutierrez said Friday that 2.6 million households have now requested almost 5 million coupons (up to two per household, with most asking for the maximum).

The converters will allow analog TVs not hooked up to cable or satellite to receive over-the-air TV signals from full-power stations after Feb. 17, 2009. Thousands of low-power stations and translator stations can still broadcast in analog potentially for years after that.

The coupons will be mailed with information on the closest retailer stocking the converters. The NTIA said it certified 615 retailers with more than 16,000 stores.