Although many TV stations are already airing PSAs and other programming designed to educate the public about the upcoming digital television transition, the FCC released an Order containing very specific requirements for these educational initiatives. These rules mandate public education efforts about the DTV transition by television broadcasters, multichannel video providers, and electronics manufacturers. In addition, the new rules require that television stations file a quarterly report on a new form, FCC Form 388, with the FCC (that is also placed in the station’s public file and on its website) certifying compliance with the requirements of the rules and setting out specifics of other consumer educations efforts about the DTV transition that the station has undertaken.The requirements will become effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register, and continue through March 31, 2009, for all full power stations who complete the transition to their full DTV facilities by February 18, 2009.
The FCC has established three options for meeting the educational initiatives requirement, two of which are available to all TV stations, and one of which is available to noncommercial stations only. Each has very specific mandates as to how many PSAs about the digital transition are required, and how much additional content (crawls, various over-lays onto programming, long-form programs) are required to meet the obligations. Thus, broadcasters and others subject to these rules should review the specific requirements carefully.