WASHINGTON, DC – NAB issued a response today to a letter sent by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Nathan Deal (R-GA) to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary Meredith Baker, which calls for an extended government-mandated "quiet period."
In response, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton issued the following statement:
"Broadcasters have embraced a voluntary, pro-consumer quiet period that will ensure no cable subscriber loses access to broadcast programming in the weeks leading up to and following the transition to digital TV. If policymakers are truly concerned about confusion that could arise from the DTV transition, they should investigate claims raised by Consumer Reports magazine alleging cable operators' use of the transition as a subterfuge for deceptively upselling consumers into higher programming tiers."
Wharton's statement was referring to an article from the November issue of Consumer Reports magazine warning consumers about some of the cable industry's efforts to use "confusion about the forthcoming digital TV transition... as a chance to boost the bills of cable customers."
"The timing of the [cable] industry's rate hike is deceptive," said Consumer Reports. "The government must push cable providers to treat subscribers fairly."
Earlier this year, the NAB Television Board of Directors adopted a resolution pledging a voluntary commitment to continue making local TV signals available to cable, satellite and phone company distribution partners from February 4 through March 4, 2009. Analog television in the U.S. will end on February 17.
The voluntary pledge gained support from the affiliate organizations of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. It is also been previously endorsed by the following NAB Television Board member companies: ABC, Inc., NBC TV Network, ION Media Networks, Univision, Telemundo, Belo, Barrington Broadcasting, Bonneville International Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Citadel Communications, Hearst-Argyle Television, LIN TV Corp., Morgan Murphy Media, Media General Broadcast Group, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Cox Television, Meredith Broadcasting Group, News-Press and Gazette Broadcasting, Raycom Media, Quincy Newspapers, E.W. Scripps TV Station Group, Tribune Broadcasting, Freedom Communications, Young Broadcasting and Woods Communications.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. As the voice of more than 8,300 radio and television stations, NAB advances their interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.