NAB Asks FCC Not To Have Stations Restart DTV Countdown Clocks March 4

Organization started its own DTV education campaign Monday

The National Association of Broadcasters has asked the FCC not to instruct stations to restart their DTV countdown clocks March 4--100 days out from the new June 12 hard date, though it has begun its own campaign to educate viewers about that new date.

In meetings with Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein Friday about the FCC's guidelines for compliance with the new date, NAB top regulatory affiars staffers said restarting the clock so soon would "decrease its effectiveness in prompting viewer action."

NAB said the FCC should wait to collect and review all the comments (which aren't due until close of business March 4) to decide the best way to educate viewers.

NAB also suggested that the FCC should not require broadcasters to air station-specific info in DTV instructional programming (NAB has already produced a generic program), arguing that if stations had to edit the half-hour program to add the local material, it would be difficult to caption the programming.

Finally, NAB asked that the commission not require stations who turn off their analog signals before June 12 to air 60 days worth of on-air notifications, saying 30 says should be sufficient and would avoid "over-saturated messaging."

Looking to reshape rather than over-saturate, NAB Monday announced its new, June 12 DTV education push, which began Monday with 200 transit ads on D.C. buses (where 20% of TV households rely on over-the air TV, says NAB). But there is much more, including new DTV TV spots in English and Spanish going to all TV stations, as well as airing in gas stations, on planes, waiting rooms and auto service centers.