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DTV Report: Executive Summary

DTV Report: Executive Summary

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Published by: MAG-Net on Jun 14, 2010
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An Evaluation of theLeadership Conference on Civil RightsEducation FundDTV Outreach & Assistance Campaign
 Executive Summary
Prepared by:Tom NovickFor:Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education FundJanuary 2010
In 2008, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCR-EF) received grantfunding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to conducton-the-ground assistance operations in seven cities nationwide to work within targeted communities.LCCR-EF’s role was to conduct outreach and public education efforts on the transition to digitaltelevision (DTV), and to provide direct assistance to those who needed it. Cities were chosen based oncriteria including demographic data, over-the-air (OTA) households, NTIA priorities, and the presenceof Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) member organizations and partners. The sevencities LCCR-EF selected for on-the-ground operations were Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN; Portland, OR; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, CA (the Bay Area);and Seattle, WA.Certain demographic groups – including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, people whorely on languages other than English, low-income working families, older Americans, and/or peoplewith disabilities – were affected by the transition in disproportionately higher proportions than thegeneral population. These households were more likely to rely on OTA transmission for television,and thus more likely to need a converter in order to continue receiving broadcasts after the switch wasimplemented. Because the groups most likely to be negatively affected by the transition weretraditionally marginalized constituencies, LCCR-EF viewed the DTV transition as a civil rights issue.It believed that as the nation prepared to shut off full-power analog television, it was important toensure that individuals in these communities knew that a national transition was taking place, and thatthere were concrete things they could do to prepare for it.LCCR-EF established programs in the seven cities starting in November 2008. A significantpercentage of NTIA funds that LCCR-EF received were passed through as sub-grants to local partnersin these cities. The goal of the campaign was to narrow the gap between national awareness effortsaround the DTV transition and NTIA-implemented coupon program and community-based needs, toensure that households most at risk had the necessary tools, resources and technical assistance tocontinue accessing free over-the-air television. At that point, the transition to DTV was scheduled totake place on February 17. The transition was ultimately delayed until June 12, which affectedprogram planning, but also allowed LCCR-EF to assist a greater number of individuals. Ultimately, theLCCR-EF campaign team held 2,669 events and assisted 184,297 people in the seven cities. Forpurposes of reporting these events ranged from one-on-one consultations to presentations at meetingsor gatherings to tabling and outreach at large public events.In August 2009, LCCR-EF contracted with Tom Novick to conduct an independent evaluation of itsDTV Outreach & Assistance Campaign. The goal of the evaluation was to both document LCCR-EF’swork and to garner feedback that can help inform future program efforts.
Executive Summary
The following key findings synthesize consistent feedback, lessons and recommendations frominterviews conducted as part of this evaluation.The overarching finding of this evaluation is that LCCR-EF’s DTV outreach effort successfullyreached large numbers of individuals in target cities and effectively provided direct assistance tothousands of members of affected populations.1.
Overwhelmingly, participation in the DTV campaign was seen as a valuable experience. Thegeneral perception was that the DTV Transition Campaign successfully prepared and equippedcommunity members for the DTV transition.2.
There is a strong consensus that local partner organizations gave credibility to the outreacheffort and helped assist populations that might not otherwise have been reached. Many of theseorganizations built capacity as part of the DTV outreach effort and universally agreed that theyreceived good exposure from participating in the Campaign.3.
The DTV Campaign participants unanimously agreed that the opportunity to collaborate withother organizations in their community was enormously positive. There was widespreadenthusiasm about the prospects for future collaboration.4.
The shifting timeline for conversion, as well as funding uncertainties, had an impact on bothprogram planning and delivery.5.
The shifting timeline which extended the campaign as well as the scope of the effort stretchedLCCR-EF internally and led to unanticipated challenges including expenses which were notrecoverable
While there was buy-in for the overarching campaign goal to prepare under-servedcommunities for the DTV transition, there was uneven buy-in and clarity regarding specific,local campaign benchmarks.7.
Although the majority of the partner organizations understood the need for accountability,some organizations struggled with the reporting process, which may have contributed to someconfusion and uneven follow-through with reporting.8.
LCCR-EF’s training and support was widely appreciated. In particular, partner organizationsfound the campaign materials and specific assistance that LCCR-EF provided with the media tobe of critical importance to their success.

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