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FCC Slates DTV Outreach Tour

Washington — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Monday unveiled plans for a nationwide outreach program to hasten its public educational efforts on the Feb. 17, 2009, transition to digital television.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he and his fellow commissioners have divided up the key markets of the country to visit in an effort to increase the visibility on the steps residents must take to continue receiving over-the-air TV broadcasts prior to the transition date.

The FCC identified target television markets for specific DTV outreach, including all those markets in which more than 100,000 households or at least 15 percent of the households rely solely on over-the-air signals for television.

The FCC commissioners and staff members will fan out to hit all of the identified markets, and more, prior to February. At each stop, a public event will take place, such as a town hall meeting, workshop or roundtable with an FCC commissioner to highlight the digital transition. Local press will be invited.

In coordination with these visits, the FCC will work with local broadcasters and radio stations to increase the broadcasts of radio and TV DTV public service announcements (PSAs).

The combined effort is designed to educate all consumers in these DMAs, but especially groups deemed to be “most vulnerable in the transition:” seniors, people living in tribal and rural areas, people with disabilities, individuals with low-incomes, minorities and non-English speakers.

Martin said in dividing up the country among the commissioners and staff, the commission conducted an “NFL-style draft,” with each commissioner choosing markets to visit in round-robin fashion.

In announcing the effort, Martin was joined by representatives from the NAB, Consumer Electronics Retailer Coalition, Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable Telecommunications Association.

“As part of our efforts to prepare consumers for the transition, we have identified television markets in which the largest number of viewers will have to take action to be prepared for the transition six months from now,” stated Martin. “This unprecedented nationwide tour by the entire commission is part of our commitment to prepare and educate consumers about the digital television transition.”

In the coming weeks, an FCC commissioner will be in the following cities:

Anchorage, Alaska                              8/27/2008

Fairbanks, Alaska                                8/28/2008

Baltimore, Maryland                            9/8/2008

San Francisco, California                     9/11/2008

Austin, Texas                                     9/18/2008

Houston, Texas                                  9/17/2008

Memphis, Tennessee                           9/19/2008

New York, New York                         9/27/2008

Boise, Idaho                                       9/29/2008

Atlanta, Georgia                                  9/29/2008

Missoula, Montana                              9/30/2008

Helena, Montana                                 10/1/2008

Bozeman, Montana                              10/2/2008

Billings, Montana                                10/3/2008

Nashville, Tennessee                           10/7/2008

Charlotte, North Carolina                     10/16/2008

Denver, Colorado                                10/16/2008

Seattle, Washington                             10/20/2008

Spokane, Washington                          10/21/2008

Yakima, Washington                           10/22/2008

Portland, Oregon                                10/23/2008

Chicago, Illinois                                  11/20/2008

Phoenix, Arizona                                 12/29/2008

Martin said the commission will release periodic updates on markets that it will visit as future trips are finalized.

Prior to each visit, FCC staffers will provide technical and outreach assistance to local broadcasters, community leaders, and other stakeholders, to prepare for the transition to digital. The FCC will also be coordinating with the NAB to explore whether the DMAs may participate in a temporary turn off of their analog signals (“soft tests”) to determine consumer readiness of the DTV transition.

The following is a list of areas the FCC will visit prior to Feb. 17, 2009.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, New Mexico

Anchorage, Alaska

Atlanta, Georgia

Austin, Texas

Baltimore, Maryland

Bangor, Maine

Billings, Montana

Boise, Idaho

Boston, Massachusetts

Bozeman, Montana

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, West Virginia

Charlotte, North Carolina

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chicago, Illinois

Chico-Redding, California

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland-Akron (Canton), Ohio

Colorado Springs,-Pueblo, Colorado

Columbus, Ohio

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Dayton, Ohio

Denver, Colorado

Des Moines-Ames, Iowa

Detroit, Michigan

Duluth-Superior, Minnesota

El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, NM)

Erie, Pennsylvania

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fresno-Visalia, California

Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Michigan

Green Bay-Appleton, Wisconsin

Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina

Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas

Helena, Montana Honolulu, Hawaii

Houston, Texas

Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Idaho

Indianapolis, Indiana

Joplin, Missouri

Pittsburg, Kansas

Kansas City, Missouri

Knoxville, Tennessee

La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Lansing, Michigan

Laredo, Texas

Los Angeles, California

Lubbock, Texas

Madison, Wisconsin

Memphis, Tennessee

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Missoula, Montana

Nashville, Tennessee

New York, New York

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona

Portland, Oregon

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia Rochester, New York

Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, California

Saint Louis, Missouri

Salt Lake City, Utah

San Antonio, Texas

San Diego, California

San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California

Seattle-Tacoma, Washington

South Bend-Elkhart, Indiana Spokane, Washington

Springfield, Missouri

Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

Toledo, Ohio

Tucson, Arizona

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Twin Falls, Idaho

Washington, DC

Wausau-Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Washington

Yuma, Arizona

El Centro, California