WASHINGTON – September 26, 2018 – America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service, today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fully fund the consumer education program established by Congress to help television viewers adjust to new channel assignments required in the aftermath of the 2017 spectrum auction.
APTS president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement accompanying the public television filing with the FCC:
“America’s Public Television Stations are grateful to the Commission and the Congress for their commitment to ensuring that broadcasters have the resources they need to repack their channels following the spectrum auction and to ensure that our viewers can enjoy a smooth transition to the new channel assignments necessitated by the auction.
“In today’s filing, we urge the Commission to follow Congress’s explicit directive and invest $50 million in a comprehensive consumer education program as television channels are repacked over the next two years into a narrower band of broadcast spectrum.
“We also commend the Commission for anticipating that a successful consumer education initiative requires a multi-media response -- including consumer service call centers, special outreach to those who need special help with the transition, and active engagement with local media.
“Public television stations have a long and successful history of close interaction with their viewers, through fundraising drives and partnerships in local public services. Several of our stations have already completed their channel repacking, and this robust community connection has already proven quite helpful in smoothing the transition for our viewers.
“We hope that the FCC will enlist public television stations in a nationwide effort to ensure that our resources are put to good and full use in this consumer education initiative – and that the congressionally-mandated funds will cover important activities like station staff training, staff time on the call centers, on-air promotional announcements, website work and social media time, among other extraordinary expenses required by the auction and its aftermath.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Commission to ensure that these final steps in the incentive auction process are successful, as we fully expect them to be.”
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org.