The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a new website in hopes of educating consumers about what they’ll need to do to keep getting broadcast TV during the incentive auction repack.
According to NAB, more than 77 million Americans use antennas to watch local broadcast television. TVanswers.org is NAB’s answer to questions those consumers may have once broadcasters begin moving to new channels. As NAB points out, consumers will not need new equipment to continue getting over-the-air broadcast TV, but they will need to rescan for signals, in some cases more than once.
The channel repack will involve more than 1,000 TV stations moving to new channels over a 39-month timeframe that will play out over a phased approach across the country. The last phase is scheduled to wrap up in July 2020.
“NAB is devoted to working with Congress, the FCC, the wireless industry and third-party groups to keep the public informed throughout this enormously challenging undertaking,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith in a statement. “Broadcast TV remains Americans’ top source for local news, weather, community programming and emergency information. The broadcast industry is committed to ensuring no viewer is left without these services.”
NAB will soon offer TV stations talking points, sample scripts and crawls, and automated phone messaging. Next year, NAB plans to make customizable TV spots available for local TV stations.
As NAB launches initiatives to educate consumers about the channel repack process, the organization continues to urge the FCC to be flexible about the timeframe and funding limits set for the repack.
Earlier this year, Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of media relations for the NAB, said the timeline and budget conditions placed on the repacking process for TV broadcasters moving their signals to new channels following the auctions, is “ambitious to say the least.”
“Right now as written, if we’re not done in 39 months, any TV station which has not made the transition has to turn in its license and go out of business. I think that’s just absurd in terms of the impact on consumers,” Wharton said.