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Seattle DTV Release

Seattle DTV Release

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Published by solrak

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Published by: solrak on Apr 16, 2009
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06/15/2009

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 17 APRIL 2009Contact: Jonathan Lawson, Reclaim the Media 206.931.0565
A Socially Responsible DTV transition: Countdown to June 12
While urging local viewers to plan ahead for the DTV transition,public interest groups and elected officials ask local retailers to do their part
On April 17, Seattle City Council president
Richard Conlin
and Energy, Technology andCommerce Committee chair 
Bruce Harrell
joined community groups to remind local residentsthat the time is now to get prepared for the
June 12 DTV transition
, by applying for converter  box coupons, and installing and testing new equipment if needed. Councilmembers also repeatedtheir call, first made earlier this year, for local retailers to do their part for a socially responsibleDTV transition, by providing a no-cost converter box option for consumers redeeming $40coupons distributed by the federal government."In the current economy, nobody should be faced with economic hardship just to maintain their access to local TV news and emergency information," said Conlin. "Free TV is an essentialservice for many households, not an optional expense."Public interest group Reclaim the Media is spearheading the local effort as part of a multi-citycampaign for a Socially Responsible DTV Transition, coordinated with other members of theMedia Action Grassroots Network and the Consumers Union. The campaign is askingelectronics retailers to pledge to stock and sell at least one $40 DTV converter box; severalmodels are available through online retailers at that price, matching the value of couponsdistributed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).However, walk-in retailers have largely ignored calls to stock the boxes, instead offering onlymore expensive models ranging from $50-$200 in price.Late in January, Mayor Nickels and the entire City Council sent letters to local retailers, writingthat the unavailability of $40 boxes "will cause an economic hardship for many lower-incomehouseholds and individuals, including seniors and people with disabilities... In many cases, TV isa basic necessity, not a luxury—providing local news, weather and emergency broadcastinformation which nobody in our community should be without. We strongly encourage our local retailers to do the right thing in this matter."In the Seattle area,
Fred Meyer
stores have pledged to offer a $40 converter box option as aspecial promotion, on at least one occasion between now and June 12; company officials saidthat details will be advertised in local newspapers. To date, no other local retailers have taken theSocially Responsible Retailer pledge.

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