I Couldn't Make this Up:The following has just appeared on the FCC website. While FCC can't seem to get candid information on its own website or to the public about the decreased coverage of some DTV stations compared to their analog predecessors, the need for better antennas for
FCC & NASCARDiagram from FCC website showing decreased WECT-DT coverage
and service of other NBC affiliates nearby.
DTV reception if you have been tolerating less than perfect analog reception, and what will happen to CATV subscribers' basic tier non-"must carry" signals, e.g. C-SPAN, when they do not use set top boxes, it now has time and money for looking to NASCAR for help. Is the problem that people don't know the transition is coming despite all the TV ads or is the problem that people don't know what the options really are? How will the NASCAR car solve this problem?
Why doesn't FCC straighten out its own basic facts before it pays others to spread incomplete information?FCC CHAIRMAN ANNOUNCES SPONSORSHIP OF NASCAR DRIVER DAVID
GILLILAND CAR #38 FOR DIGITAL TELEVISION OUTREACH
FCC Chairman Martin announced that the Federal Communications Commission will sponsor the NASCAR No. 38 entry with driver David Gilliland for a total of three races in the remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as part of its Digital Television (DTV) outreach. The FCC DTV sponsorship will debut at Martinsville Speedway on October 19th followed by the races at the Phoenix International Raceway on November 9 and Homestead- Miami Speedwayon November 16.
It is the leading spectator sport in the country. Seventeen of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the U.S. annually are NASCAR events, with average attendance topping 125,000 per event for the 36 point races during the 10 month season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the number-two-rated regular-season sport on television with nearly 8 million viewers tuned in weekly, and features 36 races at 22 different tracks across the country.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said of the primary sponsorship, “NASCAR fans are known for their avid interest in this sport. Their awareness and responsiveness to NASCAR sponsors is also exceptionally high. I believe this sponsorship is an extremely effective way for the FCC to raise DTV awareness among people of all ages and income levels across the United States who loyally follow one of the most popular sports in America.”
“I’m flattered that the FCC chose our No. 38 Ford to help them convey the message about the upcoming digital television transition taking place next year,” commented Gilliland. “This is a very big undertaking to convert the entire country to digital services, but the end result will be improved picture and sound quality and those are definitely important factors to NASCAR fans. Yates Racing has had a tremendous 2008 season which allowed us to have a variety of important partnerships, and our No. 38 Digital TV Transition Ford will be another great example of partners who believe in the reach that we have. I am honored to help promote the Digital TV Transition messaging.”
The primary sponsorship is to assist ineducating the American public about the February 17th, 2009, transition from analog service to digital television transmission. On that date, all full-power broadcast television stations in the United States will cease broadcasting analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital.
Digital broadcasting will allow stations to offer improved picture and sound quality as well as add additional channels. Digital television is a new type of broadcast technology that delivers digital signal that is virtually free of interference and is more efficient than current analog signal.
For more information about the Digital Transition visit www.DTV.gov.
One final point, what happens if the FCC-sponsored car "crashes and burns" before February?[I am in Japan now and when I wrote the above had no idea that it was about to come true! But read here what really happened, as reported to me by an anonymous post to this blog.]
David Gilliland, driver of the DTV.gov Ford bounces off of the wall in turn four during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
 For example after the Wilmington, NC early switchover, FCC admitted in a document posted on its website that over-the-air viewers in all or part of 6 NC counties lost access to any NBC affiliate. While the DTV allocation plan does not have too many cases like this, Wilmington was not unique either. The complexity of the DTV transition and the need to free channels for reallocation to public safety and auction to CMRS use made it impossible to "replicate" all previous analog service. However, FCC has never been very candid to the public about this point.