FCC issues DTV education requirements

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The FCC today approved new DTV consumer education and reporting requirements for broadcasters and cable and satellite companies (press release). Broadcasters must choose one of three different plans to educate viewers and must report to the FCC on their efforts each quarter. Broadcasters can 1.) air a combination of PSAs and screen crawls with increasing frequency as the shut-off date gets closer; 2.) follow an alternate schedule put forth by the National Association of Broadcasters that calls for an average of 16 PSAs and 16 crawls per week; or 3.) noncommercial broadcasters only can follow the APTS plan, which requires 60 seconds per day of on-air consumer education, including at least 7.5 minutes per month between 6 p.m. and midnight. This requirement doubles on May 1 and then again on Nov. 1, to 180 seconds per day and 22.5 minutes per month between 6 p.m. and midnight. Each of the education mandates expires March 31, 2009 (see also Broadcasting & Cable). Earlier: with less than a year until the analog shut-off, many pubcasters have begun their own DTV campaigns.