Well informed. Well in advance.

Over the past two years you saw the commercials and billboards, heard the radio service announcements and received information in the mail about the big change in February 2009. Well here it is, February 2009, and as you know television is moving from analog to digital signals.

The FCC has placed many regulations over the past few years on how consumers are informed about the switchover. There have been commercials explaining how and why this change is taking place and telling the public about the much needed update of technology. There have also been commercials offering information on how to get coupons to receive a converter box, which will transform the signals into digital ones for older televisions.

According to Yahoo! news about a quarter of the stations switched over February 17, 2009. The remaining stations should begin converting between March and June 2009. This is considered a grace period to offer emergency broadcast information and local news via analog, as well as provide information about the switch to those few who have not heard about it.

Bottom line, the FCC provided all of the information to the public in a timely manner with plenty of preparation for the public to react to the news. Another great aspect of this campaign is the DTV Web site, which explains the change, how it affects certain people and how to make sure you are covered during the switch.

Although everyone was informed, of course there are those of us who procrastinated and did not realize the switch was taking place until we discovered that some of our channels had been dropped. No fear. Just get on the DTV Web site and there is a how-to section on nearly every aspect of the process.

Another reason some people have not made the switch is because of the cost. However, there were alternatives to buying a new television like buying a converter box. The FCC also provided information on how to get a coupon for the converter boxes. According to Blorge, the Senate approved the delay of the switchover to June 12 to give people more time to switch to digital signal.

The FCC was well prepared for the campaign and created awareness through several different outlets, including direct mailings, PSA’s, news releases, billboards, commercials, the Web site and others. This is a great case study to look at because of the broad audience and the quality of campaign produced. Television users were well informed, well in advance.

by Amy Hannah Burkhalter

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