FCC Bids Farewell to Tate, DTV Switch Concerns Loom

Dec 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Departing Federal Communications Commission commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate was saluted today by fellow commissioners at her final FCC meeting before she departs the agency.
Ms. Tate, who got a recess appointment to the commission by President George Bush, was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate and her tenure expires with the arrival of the new Congress. Her departure leaves the commission with two Democrats and two Republicans.
FCC chairman Kevin Martin today praised Ms. Tate, noting especially her concern for children’s issues.
Commissioner Michael Copps said Ms. Tate “led a charge for broadcasters and advertisers to cut back on advertising of unhealthy foods that contribute so measurably to our country’s crisis of childhood obesity.”
Ms. Tate, a former Tennessee utility commissioner, said she was pleased to serve during a revolutionary time at the FCC and speak out for story tellers and inventors. She urged the commission to continue on market-driven deregulatory path and look at ways to correct problems that benefit consumers instead of exacting fines on media companies.
The meeting wasn’t free of policy considerations, with Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein raising alarms about the state of preparations for the switch to all-digital broadcast television signals.
During the meeting, which was conducted by phone, Mr. Adelstein said the proceedings heightened his concern about preparations for the DTV switch. He called in from Phoenix, where he was attending a digital TV informational meeting.
“I’m afraid the DTV transition isn’t ready for prime time yet,” he said. “I’m afraid it’s going to be messy.”
Mr. Adelstein said a number of people at the meeting weren’t aware they needed to apply for coupons to help them purchase converter boxes. He also expressed concern that consumers in fringe areas don’t yet realize the signal area for the DTV signals will be slightly different than analog signals and that some could lose signals.
Commissioner Robert McDowell said that while the transition could be messy for some viewers, the signal will be better for “the vast majority of people.”
(Editor: Baumann)


  1. What more could possibly have been done to prepare people for the DTV switch?
    TV stations have been flogging it non-stop for over two years now.
    Do people expect someone to come to their door, shake them by the lapels and tell them it’s happening?
    I’m just at a loss.
    As far as Mr Tate’s charge at the FCC against “unhealthy” advertising, it was great of her to regulate an area of the business that I believe she had no right to regulate.
    Yes, advertising is to blame, because so many obese children are purchasing the wrong foods with their own money, parents have no responsibility in the equation, right?

  2. Just a note about the DTV transition. It is very difficult to get questions answered like: what to do if the coupons expire before you get to use them–also, where is information like: if you do not have a clear analog signal–the converter box does you no good. I happened to hear that tidbit on TV, but can’t find it in print. I often feel like I am being forced to get cable when there is very little on cable I will watch.
    Interesting – – – –

  3. Strange, I was the one who had been saying there are problems within markets, not in fringe areas.
    I don’t see why the FCC and TV station engineers are making it so difficult to get answers, for DTV difficulties. All we hear is “perfect Picture, after plugging in an antenna, then plug in the box…wahlaaahhhh!” Strange how it’s not like they portray.
    Yes DTV is nowhere near Primetime… and I have the proof online…and always had on youtube. Its the proof the FCC needs to show that 13 miles from a tower is not acceptable for “DTV Reception Issues” as my many clips show.
    All of you at the FCC, Make note of the last paragraph… its where to go and what to look up, for the proof that DTV is not ready, along with Local broadcasters…and the American public is also not ready either.
    Also to the FCC….Your report you sent Marcy Kaptur’s office was not valid, since nobody came inside to take a rating of signal… this also goes for WNWO-DT, in Toledo, Ohio. “Half Azzed” does not cover it… unless the FCC and Channel 49-1, -2, and -3 want to show they are lazy. When it’s windy, When it rains, When there’s severe WX, etc., Tv goes away, no matter what direction you face. During normal conditions, DTV does not work well, if you are not in line of site.
    Now I don’t call that situation, for those poorer and losing houses, jobs, and forced into apartments, [with barriers, called walls] ready for primetime.

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