MARCH 2018

It has been a busy month for the TV Answers team. We have just released new, customizable TV spots and radio toolkits for stations, as well as a video tutorial on rescanning for viewers. These new tools – available for download in English and Spanish – can be found at

TVAnswers Webcast

In case you missed it, watch a webcast for stations discussing the importance of using consistent tools and coordinating with other stations in your market to send a clear message and minimize viewer confusion. The webcast also covers several questions your station may receive from viewers.

Some of these questions came from an eye-opening conversation we recently had with one of our Midwest member stations, PBS Milwaukee. Following the station's January 8 Rescan Day, we interviewed General Manager Bohdan Zachary to learn how they prepared their viewers for their Rescan Day and the challenges they faced. The interview is a glimpse into what stations can expect during their own transitions.

Read on for our interview with Bohdan to learn more.

How did your station prepare for the repack?
We had meetings four months before our transition date with our entire staff, from engineers to producers and more. We wanted to ensure that they understood the upcoming changes, were well-versed on the topic and were prepared to take on the extra legwork if it came to it. This strategy was very helpful, as it made sure our entire staff was not caught off guard.

PBS Milwaukee Resource Page

We also created a unique landing page with lots of information, FAQs, images and more. We wanted this to be a useful place our viewers could go to learn more and follow step-by-step instructions at their own pace.

What outreach did you do to your viewers about the repack?
We created six local program TV spots that provided information and instructions on how to rescan and ran them for over six weeks before the rescan date and continue to run them to this day. We also wrote about the rescan in our member newsletter and wrote articles for the local paper about the issue. Click here for an example of a spot.

How did you field questions from your viewers?
We utilized our PBS phone bank, which we normally use for donation drives, with 12 phone lines staffed by engineers and other employees. Once the repack began, we started taking calls at 9 a.m. that day, and people continued to call until almost 10 p.m. that night, nonstop. We have probably received over 50-100 calls every day since the transition, and we are working through a backlog of calls. We’ve had engineers on the phone for as long as an hour to solve a problem with a viewer. Having the phone bank was an incredible resource to us and our viewers, but it has been difficult to manage due to the unexpected influx of calls we received.

Did your entire staff pitch in to help with the upcoming changes?
Yes. We briefed them previously that the transition was likely to be an “all-hands-on-deck” situation, which it definitely turned out to be.

Did you anticipate that the repack would be a challenge for your station and viewers?
We knew that this would be a large undertaking for our station, even in a medium-sized DMA like ours. We have a higher penetration of over-the-air viewers than other markets, so we hoped that our outreach would ideally reach our target audience. However, we never expected the significant feedback and questions we received by phone or on social media.

How did your viewers react?
Our backlog of calls grows every day, as we have concerned viewers still not understanding what happened or how to remedy the situation. We also received many concerned messages on social media, especially when it came to troubleshooting viewers’ specific antennas and remote control situations. Our audience was very confused and frustrated, as rescanning does not feel like a comfortable concept to them. Though most of our audience does not have internet or even a computer in their homes, they are very active on mobile and social media and we accommodated them as best as we could.

What is one thing you’d like other stations facing the repack to know?
We would like other stations, no matter what their market size, to take into consideration the challenges that we faced even with significant preparation. We urge stations to incorporate the rescan messaging as frequently as possible into their social media pages (including anchors/producers) and TV programming, and if possible, utilize a call center to field questions from viewers.

As a reminder, tools in English and Spanish, such as talking points, sample scripts and social media posts, are available at to help your viewers understand how to rescan their TVs and converter boxes.

Government Relations Activities

House Passes Bill to Reimburse Stations for Repacking Costs

U.S. Capitol

Recently, the House of Representatives passed RAY BAUM's Act (H.R. 4986), which creates a framework to reimburse full-power and low-power TV and FM radio stations, as well as TV translators for their repack costs. The bill also funds consumer education efforts and grants broadcasters improved access to their facilities for maintenance or repairs during times of emergency. Click here to read NAB's press statement on the legislation.

This is a great step forward for broadcasters. However, our job is not yet done. While this bill provides the mechanism for reimbursing broadcasters, it is up to the appropriators to release the additional funds. Your voice can help us in this effort.

Please contact your legislator today and encourage them to request that appropriators include full funding to cover broadcasters' spectrum repacking costs in this month's omnibus appropriations legislation. Click here to contact your legislator.

Have You Set a Transition Date? Let Us Know!

In order for NAB to help your station educate viewers, we need to know exactly when you are making the transition, whether that is due to a channel sharing agreement or the repack. As your plans become firm, please let us know the date you'll be moving to a new frequency by filling out this simple form.

TVAnswers Resources

If you are responsible for multiple stations, you can also send an email to and we'll populate our database on to ensure your station information is current and accurate.

We encourage your feedback. If you have questions or information to share with other stations, please email us at

Click here to add your contact information to stay informed.