Posts tagged ‘The Future of TV’

Rural Viewers Could Lose TV in FCC’s Spectrum Repacking

Here at The Future of TV, we’ve been expressing our concern for some time that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed spectrum repacking could threaten rural TV viewers’ access to their favorite channels. For citizens in tiny Moapa Valley, Nev., that danger is all too real.

The Moapa Valley Progress published a detailed report on their town’s over-the-air TV access. Like many rural areas, Moapa Valley relies on TV translators to help TV signals travel from nearby cities to more remote areas. Without these translators, residents would lose many of their TV channels, robbing them of important news and emergency information, not to mention their favorite shows. The FCC’s proposed auction plan could hamper their district’s ability to provide local TV services.

As the Moapa Valley TV District Board Chairman David Pray said:

I always use the example of the little old lady in Overton. What options does she have? We don’t have cable service available in our area. On a fixed income, she can’t afford to pay the $40-$80 per month for satellite TV. And she is homebound and really relies on our service to get information to her. Without that, she would simply not have television service. That is an example of someone who will be hurt the worst by all of this.

As outlined in the Moapa Valley Progress, the FCC’s spectrum repacking plan could limit the amount of spectrum available to the translators that provide rural TV service and impose costs on local broadcasters and communities all across the country.

If you’re a rural resident concerned about losing TV service because of the FCC’s spectrum auction, speak up. Write, call, tweet or email your members of Congress today and let them know that local TV is important to you. Urge them to carefully monitor the FCC’s actions to ensure you don’t lose the channels you depend on most. 

June 12, 2014 at 11:46 am 4 comments

Watch Broadcasters’ Lifesaving Severe Weather Coverage

When dangerous weather strikes, local TV stations go wall-to-wall with the urgent information their viewers need to know to stay safe.

Arkansas’ KHBS/KHOG-TV was committed to covering May’s devastating tornadoes:

Indiana’s WFIE recapped their news coverage of a severe storm earlier in May:

The Perryville, Ark., woman who wrote to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said it best: local stations ‘“had great concern in telling residents in the path of the tornado when to take cover, and I truly feel their actions helped save lives.”’

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Even wireless carrier Sprint recently praised the efforts of broadcasters in emergencies. Sprint touted the NextRadio app, which its customers use to access broadcast radio through their smartphones, as an important disaster safety feature, saying it, “can be a lifeline to citizens when other communication networks suffer disaster-related outages.”

During summer months, when devastating storms and other severe weather can strike our communities, make sure to tune into your local stations for constant emergency updates. Even when the Internet and cell phones go down, you can count on your local broadcasters to stay on the air to keep you safe.

June 4, 2014 at 11:16 am 2 comments

Representing Broadcasters and True Incentive Auction Success

Guest Blogger: NAB Spectrum Expert Rick Kaplan, Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning

At last week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on “Crafting a Successful Incentive Auction,” the executive director of the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition (EOBC) sounded the alarm that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) upcoming incentive auction was on the path to complete failure. The reason? The FCC is allegedly not moving fast enough to inform broadcasters exactly how much money the agency plans on shelling out for their spectrum licenses and that the agency may be considering reverse auction rules that approximate the actual value of spectrum licenses. He concluded that anything that gets in the way of paying broadcasters handsomely for their spectrum licenses is going to lead to auction catastrophe.

Let me ease your minds: There is no cause for alarm. The sky is not falling. Broadcasters are patient, digesting what emerges from the FCC and recognize that this is a long, complex process.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), along with the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), represents the true interests of all broadcasters. Our aim is to serve America’s local broadcasters and to expand their opportunities in the 21st century, whatever they might be. We have members who will continue broadcasting for decades to come and others that may look to the incentive auction as an opportunity to exit the business after a long history of serving their communities.

The EOBC, while apparently made up of companies that hold licenses in the broadcast band (its membership list is a closely guarded secret), does not represent broadcasters. In many respects, this group seems to stand in stark contrast to what is in the best interests of broadcasters and broadcasting. Its mission is singular: to capitalize on regulatory arbitrage. Its aim is to make sure that its members are paid as much money as possible and paid as quickly as possible for their spectrum licenses. 

While there is nothing wrong with having one’s own interests at heart, we must take the comments of this coalition in that context. This context explains why, as opposed to NAB, APTS, as well as the representatives of wireless companies and associations, cable companies and associations and public interest groups, the EOBC is not concerned with the resulting 600 MHz band plan, how international coordination impacts the future of television, interoperability, co-channel interference, or any other issue beyond how much they get paid and how quickly. The day their checks are cashed, their engagement in this auction ends; the EOBC has no interest in the subsequent repacking or consumer welfare.

The FCC staff is working hard to solve dozens of challenges in this extremely complicated auction. The agency is not close – nor should it be at this point – to determining starting prices in markets or even to confirming which markets are eligible for auction. These are very difficult questions among many others that need to be sorted out over time.

If done right, the FCC will make it as easy as possible for willing broadcasters to participate in the auction. In practice, this means ensuring that broadcasters understand the rules of the road and that their participation does not require an army of economists or mathematicians. There should be low barriers to entry. The process will take time, and in all likelihood will require the cooperation of those such as NAB and APTS, that truly represent broadcasters. These broadcast advocates want to weigh the potential benefits of participation, not just quick-hit investors looking to turn a quick profit because of the government’s unique offer to buy back licenses.

NAB has been engaged with the FCC to ensure the auction’s success and viewer protection from start to finish. Success for us includes, but goes far beyond, those looking to profit on their licenses. So, when Congress, the FCC and the public ask where broadcasters stand, and how can we ensure success for the auction – both for participants and non-participants – they should look to NAB and APTS. These associations represent America’s television broadcasters – not just companies that happen to hold licenses – and are focused on both the short- and long-term success of the industry. 

December 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

FCC Announces New Timeline for Spectrum Auctions

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, published a blog post last week announcing changes to the FCC’s planned timeline for broadcast spectrum incentive auctions. Originally planned for the beginning of 2014, the auctions are now targeted for mid-2015. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) appreciates this more realistic schedule, which gives the FCC more time to ensure that viewers aren’t needlessly harmed by hasty changes to our communications infrastructure.

In his testimony during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on spectrum this week, the National Association of Broadcasters’ spectrum expert Rick Kaplan, noted that an “unduly rushed” process could threaten the success of the auction.

Kaplan raised several essential components in crafting a successful auction. Among them, he urged the FCC to “make all reasonable efforts to preserve non-auction participants’ coverage areas and populations served.” Post-auction, television stations that choose to remain on the air will go through a process called “repacking,” in which stations may have to move channels to create large blocks of spectrum. TV viewers should not lose access to channels that remain on the air as a result of a poorly managed repacking process. Kaplan added that a successful auction includes developing a good long-term plan that ensures rural and minority viewers do not lose free TV service.

Avoiding harm to viewers is a top priority for broadcasters and the millions of viewers who rely on broadcast television. Broadcast stations provide America’s favorite sports and entertainment programming – including more than 90 of the 100 highest-rated television shows – but that’s just the beginning. Stations have an unparalleled commitment to serving in communities across the country, providing life-saving emergency information, local news and meaningful public service.

Broadcasters have maintained from the beginning of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction process that the most important goal is getting the auction done right, not merely as quickly as possible. This new, more realistic timeline is a victory for viewers across the country.

December 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Today is World Television Day!

November 21 is World Television Day! The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day of recognition in 1996 to promote “the increasing impact television has on decision-making by alerting world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues.”

Numerous organizations around the globe come together on World Television Day to highlight TV’s crucial contribution to the global economy, politics, education and entertainment. Television is a medium that improves the world, triggers imagination, raises curiosity, encourages education and unites millions around common interests.

In the United States, local broadcast television stations provide viewers with urgent emergency information, important local and national news and the highest-rated sports and entertainment content, all for free over the air. Broadcasters’ public service supports communities across the country. And with mobile innovations, free TV is more accessible than ever before. At home and around the world, the TV you love educates and empowers viewers and their communities. This commitment is at the core of the future of TV.

Learn more about the event and TV’s role around the world at WorldTelevisionDay.com.

November 21, 2013 at 9:59 am 1 comment

Mobile TV Seminar Explores Opportunities for Broadcasters and Viewers

This week, the National Association of Broadcasters partnered with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to host a seminar on recent developments in mobile TV.

Industry leaders discussed how viewers are using mobile TV in different markets and looked at the newest mobile TV device, developed by Dyle TV and Audiovox, available to consumers this holiday season.

Mobile TV is unique among mobile video offerings because it delivers signals to devices over the air, without onerous data streaming costs. Panelists emphasized its enormous potential benefit to the cost-conscious viewers who are adopting mobile TV as service expands across the country.

Click here to watch the archive of the event.

November 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

Local Broadcasters Keep Viewers Informed on Election Day

Polling places across the country are open today for state and local elections, and local television stations have kept the voters headed to the polls informed about the issues impacting their communities. These local stations, many of which sponsored or hosted debates on these important local issues leading up to Election Day, will go wall-to-wall tonight with coverage of the results as they come in.

From debates and campaign news leading up to Election Day, to tonight’s election returns coverage, television viewers can be more informed about those representing their interests in state and local government thanks to free, local broadcasters.

A recent study by Pew Research demonstrated that local TV news remains the dominant way Americans get news at home. Even with numerous choices in the digital age, more Americans trust their local TV stations to bring them the information they need, when and where they want it. That’s the future of TV.  

November 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm 4 comments

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