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February 13, 2008
Dennis Wharton
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Prepared Oral Testimony for NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr Before the House Telecom Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, DC – NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr testified today in a hearing on the digital television transition. His prepared oral testimony, delivered before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, is below.

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Good morning Chairman Markey, Ranking Member Stearns and members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters on our number one television priority - a successful digital television transition.

I would like to make four points this morning.

One - NAB aggressively constructed a comprehensive and empirically based DTV education effort.

Broadcasters are committed to ensuring that - no viewer anywhere - is left uninformed. After all, over-the-air viewers are our lifeblood.

In constructing our campaign, we turned to experts in advertising, marketing, and consumer research to develop a program designed to reach every corner of America - and, to determine the best way to educate consumers, particularly those most impacted such as senior citizens, and minority and rural populations.

This explains why every broadcast network and nearly 1,500 television stations nationwide have chosen to participate in NAB's massive, multifaceted, multi-platform campaign.

NAB has committed to a comprehensive program of DTV action spots, 30-minute education programs, informational messages through crawls, snipes and/or news tickers, and other features such as a 100-day countdown.

All told, the value of this campaign is estimated at more than $1 billion and will generate 132 billion audience impressions.

We anticipate each household will either hear, see or be exposed to the message some 642 times before February 17, 2009.

Two - broadcasters have turned to the airwaves to educate America about the transition.

NAB is executing a disciplined and focused campaign. The first phase - launched last fall - drove home the fact that the transition was happening. Results of our January survey show that consumer awareness has jumped dramatically - to 79 percent, up from 38 percent just one year ago. We anticipate continued forward momentum.

The second phase of our effort will focus on the converter box coupon program. NAB has produced four new action spots and we would like to take the opportunity to show just one now.

Three - NAB and broadcasters have unleashed their creative talents which go beyond the airwaves.

A Speaker's Bureau: We are on track to deliver 8,000 speeches to community groups nationwide.

DTV Trekkers: These customized trucks - designed to look like giant televisions on wheels - are criss-crossing America, making more than 600 stops at local events. Today, the "DTV Trekkers" are in Noel, Missouri and Orlando, Florida.

Retailer outreach: We are teaming up with Wal-Mart and other retailers to air the DTV action spots on their in-store channels, to educate shoppers to take action.

Community outreach: NAB has partnered with a variety of organizations, including the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Black Church Initiative, and Univision - to name just a few - to amplify our outreach efforts.

And, finally, four - we must continue to build on our public-private partnership. Clearly, this is not a project broadcasters can tackle alone. From the beginning, we knew this effort would require everyone's cooperation and involvement.

The DTV Coalition - a broad based group of 207 organizations, including the FCC and NTIA - is taking the lead to ensure a smooth transition. We look forward to working with all of our partners, including cable, electronics manufacturers, retailers, community broadcasters, consumer advocates and the government as we go forward.

The upcoming transition is a historic event for America. Crystal clear pictures. Phenomenal sound. More programs and services. And it is free.

I pledge that NAB - and our broadcasters - will do all we can to make this switch a success.

We welcome the committee's input and thank you for your leadership. Thank you for inviting me here today and I am happy to answer any questions.


About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at


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