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
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 it’s
also a time of economic strain for low-income people. With the
government coupon program out of funds and over 3 million requests
pending, it’s 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.