Obama Asks Congress to Delay DTV Transition
Problems with the DTV-to-analog converter box program and "inadequate funding" were factors
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/8/2009 9:30:00 AM
President-elect Barack Obama has asked Congress to extend the Feb. 17 DTV transition date.
Citing problems with the DTV-to-analog converter box program and "inadequate funding" of government DTV education programs, John Podesta, co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team, requested that "the cut-off date for analog signals should be reconsidered and extended."
That is according to a letter (click here to view) being sent Thursday to the chairs and ranking Republicans on the House and Senate Committees overseeing communications (The House Energy & Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee).
Saying that only 28 days after the inauguration Americans would wake up to find their analog TV's no longer able to receive an over-the-air signal—and pointing to the decision on the date made in 2005 and implemented by the outgoing administration—Podesta urged them to "consider a change to the legislatively mandated cut-off date."
He said that funds to support the conversion are "woefully inadequate," particularly to address the problems of seniors and low income viewers.
He also suggested that there would be money from the president-elect's economic recovery package that would help address the funding shortfalls.
Consumers Union, which called for a similar move Wednesday after consultation with the transition, has suggested moving the date as well.
Brandon Burgess, chairman and CEO of Ion Media, the nation's largest station group owner with 60 outlets, said that given the Obama request, there is a "serious chance" that the date would move.
He said that, personally, "it was disappointing. It's a lot like studying for an exam. Once you have studied, it doesn't really help to get an extra day."
Burgess noted that there has been a billion dollars of promotion that has gone into the transition. "It doesn't get any better with an extra four months," he said.—Glen Dickson contributed to this report.
You all know as well as I that Washington is just for the wealthy and big business. There is not much help from D.C towards low income people. I have antenna tv. Lots of times I see a DISH satelite commercial and it makes me sick. The station also says that "special interest groups" are trying to limit the use of antenna tv. Do you know why? It is all about GREED. They want everyone to be on cable or satelite. They can all kiss my damn ass!
Jerry W. Tate - 9/8/2010 11:39:44 PM EDT
Fantastic, giving procrastinaters another chance to procrastinate. Seriously, this is just a TV thing, it is not as though lives will be lost, or jobs will be diminished. Get on the ball, I got my converter box 9 months ago!
Laura Parnell - 1/22/2009 6:08:28 PM EST
What crap! This date has been postponed how many times? First it was 2001, then 2005 I believe, then Feb 2009. So another delay until June?
You can bet those people that are not ready today will not be ready in June. In fact they will never be ready until it happens - then they will complain.
Most people are just total procrastinators. They have had forever to make the change.
Ed Cucci - 1/16/2009 5:38:36 PM EST
This "Transition" has dragged on for nine years already.
How can anyone say they didn't have time, or don't know about it?
If you want to delay it another 30+ months, then please send my station $106,750 for the power ($3500/month, currently), and about $100K for the transmitter maintenance bills.
That's assuming the old analog transmitters will hold out another 3 years!
Ken English - 1/11/2009 3:04:00 PM EST
PLEASE STOP THIS DTV, ELDWELY AND LOW INCOME RELIE ON REGULAR TV FOR COMPANY AND TO KEEP UP WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND THEM, THEY ARE LOT OF US HAVING TROUBLE JUST SURVIVING WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER BILL, THAT E HAVENT HAD A CHOICE TO SAY YES OR NO ON .
LOTTIE HAMILTON - 1/11/2009 2:34:00 PM EST
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