Fire chiefs need to be aware about big changes coming to local television stations in many markets across the country. Our friends at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) tell us that over the next three years nearly 1,000 local television stations are required by law to change to new frequencies. When this change occurs, viewers who receive their television signal over the air with an antenna (not via cable or satellite) will have to take a simple, free step to continue watching their local stations.
Why do fire chiefs needs to know this? While many of us are connected 24/7 to news and information through our smart phones, tablets, computers, and satellite and cable television services, there are 77 million Americans whose primary source of news is their antenna television.
Often, viewers who rely on an antenna to watch television are seniors, lower-income families, minorities or those who live in rural areas. If residents in your community are affected by the coming frequency change, they may miss out on important emergency information in a time of crisis.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this problem.
“TV viewers who receive their television signal via antenna will need to rescan their TV sets when their local stations change frequencies,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “They will not need to purchase additional equipment or services. Because stations are required to move at different times, viewers may need to rescan their TV sets more than once.”
NAB has set up a website devoted exclusively to this matter. TVAnswers.org has a searchable database with all the television stations and an approximate date of when stations must move frequencies. It also has information on how to rescan a TV set.
“In the name of community preparedness, I’m encouraging all fire chiefs to take appropriate steps to help make sure residents in your community do not lose access to their local TV station broadcasts and important weather and emergency information,” said Chief Tom Jenkins, IAFC president and chairman of the board. “We thank our friends at NAB for alerting the fire service about these impactful changes over the next few years.”