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FCC Clarifies Requirement to Publicize Local DTV Walk-In Centers

FCC Fines Texas Low Power Noncommercial Educational Station $20,000 for Airing Advertisements. The FCC issued a Public Notice late today providing guidance to broadcasters regarding the DTV walk-in center consumer education requirement it created last month. On March 13th, the FCC imposed a number of additional DTV consumer education requirements upon stations still operating in analog format or which are operating in digital format, but not with final post-transition facilities. One of those requirements is that such stations publicize the location and hours of any walk-in DTV help centers located in their market by including that information in a daily PSA or crawl.

Today, the FCC issued the attached Public Notice, which provides very specific requirements for what qualifies as a walk-in DTV help center. The FCC indicates that “walk-in centers that have the [listed] characteristics and are located in a station’s designated market area (DMA) must be identified in that station’s consumer education campaign.” It therefore appears that stations will not be required to publicize any walk-in centers that do not meet the FCC’s stringent standards, and the principal impact of today’s clarification will be to reduce the number of consumer assistance facilities that broadcast stations are required to publicize under the new consumer education requirements.

While stations are not required to publicize the availability of a consumer assistance facility that fails to meet the definition of a DTV walk-in center, the FCC’s Public Notice still encourages stations to publicize the availability of all consumer assistance resources. However, stations may not publicize such resources as “walk-in centers” or “walk-in DTV help centers” unless they possess all of the attributes announced in today’s Public Notice.

A PDF version of this article can be found at FCC Clarifies Requirement to Publicize Local DTV Walk-In Centers.

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