February 14, 2008

Crapo Sets Idaho Forums On Television Conversion

Expert panelists to discuss transition from analog to digital TV

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo announces a series of informational meetings in Idaho concerning changes in over-the-air television signals that could affect as many as 400,000 Idahoans. Crapo will host the first digital television (DTV) educational forum on Thursday, February 21st, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Ada County Courthouse Commissioners Room, 200 West Front Street, in Boise. Additional forums will follow in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Coeur d'Alene during March.

Crapo has invited representatives from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and local television station managers, including Idaho Public Television, to discuss details of the upcoming conversion from analog to digital television signals effective February 17, 2009. The changes to digital broadcasting signals mean an older analog television set will not receive signals from full-power stations unless it is equipped with a digital tuner or viewers purchase a converter box. Coupons are available to offset some of the cost of purchasing converter boxes, but Crapo said forums are needed around Idaho to make sure residents are prepared for the changes.

"Idahoans rely on their televisions to get news, entertainment, weather and emergency information," Crapo said. "Given the fact that the percentage of Idahoans who receive their television signals over the air is higher here in Idaho than in many states, it is critical that recipients have access to the latest information about how this digital transition will affect them, and I am committed to helping Idahoans get the information they need. These forums will be a positive step in that direction."

Crapo will joined by Thomas Wyatt, Deputy Chief of the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau at the FCC, Brian Danza, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary at NTIA, and Peter Morrill, General Manager of Idaho Public Television along with television station managers, local elected leaders, interest groups and others to discuss the changes that will take place February 17, 2009.

Idaho Digital Television (DTV) meetings are planned on these dates. All are free and open to the public:

Boise - February 21, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Ada County Courthouse Commissioners Room, First Floor, 200 West Front Street.

Idaho Falls - March 11, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Bonneville County Courthouse, Centennial Court Room, Second Floor, 605 N. Capitol Avenue

Twin Falls - March 12, 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Idaho Department of Labor Meeting Room, 420 Falls Avenue

Coeur d'Alene - March 13, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Kootenai County Annex Building, 451 Government Way, Room 1-B