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4 Bay Area Stations to Shut Off Analog Signals Early

Oakland-The Federal Communications Commission publicly released a comprehensive list of broadcasters who petitioned for an early analog shutoff. In the Bay Area, major broadcasters making the request included KICU Channel 6 and KOFY Channel 20, along with KCNS and KFTY.

While not as hard-hit as some cities like San Diego, where several network affiliates will switch to digital months before the federal mandate, and several rural regions of the country, where customers without cable services or a functioning converter box may face the loss of multiple stations, the early switchover in the Bay Area pits the economic stresses on smaller broadcasters against their public interest obligations.

Media Alliance Executive Director Tracy Rosenberg comments: It is clear that continuing to send analog and digital signals for four more months is expensive in a time of economic strain. But its also a time of economic strain for low-income people. With the government coupon program out of funds and over 3 million requests pending, its unfortunate the delay will not be uniformly observed. Television is part of what knits us together as a nation, from the Super Bowl to the inauguration. Access to information is a right, not a privilege with a ticket price of $40.

Media Alliance has set up an assistance center to serve Oakland and East Bay residents at 1431 23rd Avenue, sited at the San Antonio Neighborhood Network at 1431 23rd Avenue. The Assistance Center is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 5pm. Phone inquiries may be left at 510-533-7266. Center staffers will also be visiting senior centers, assisted living facilities, churches and other community groups to do presentations on dealing with the transition, converter box options for non-cable/satellite households, coupon drives and consumer information on purchase options and installation instructions. Volunteers are also encouraged to contact the Center as training will be available for community members to assist with center staffing as well as off-site informational sessions in the months and weeks up to and after the transition.

The D-TV Transition is currently scheduled for June 12, 2009. Due to problems with the converter box coupon program, the stimulus act currently under negotiation in Washington DC has called for 650 million dollars to refund the coupon program and expand outreach efforts to the approximately 6 million Americans who are estimated to be unprepared for the switchover.