- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008

In the latest iteration of its $1 billion campaign to make sure Americans who want to watch over-the-air television after Feb. 17 will be able to do so, the National Association of Broadcasters is targeting motorists as they fill up their tanks.

An NAB-produced video spot is airing across the 720 gas stations comprising the PumpTop TV network, which covers New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Diego.

For those who have never laid eyes on this column or are living under a rock somewhere - in which case, you probably wouldn’t be able to receive analog broadcasts anyway - the so-called DTV transition refers to that highly anticipated day when broadcasters shut off their analog signals and switch over to all-digital.

According to the NAB, nearly 20 million households rely solely on free, over-the-air broadcasts. Again, for those of us who have just joined, these folks would need to either purchase a converter box, a digital TV set or subscribe to cable or satellite service in order to continue watching TV after the transition.

Back to the DTV ads at the pump: PumpTop TV estimates that more than 70 percent of drivers fill their tanks 1.5 times a week, spending about six minutes, on average, doing so.

Jack Bauer and torture

Marking the return of Fox’s popular “24” series in January, the ever-vigilant Parents Television Council released some research last week on the use of torture in the show, which the group warns is used not just by the “bad guys.”

The findings: 67 torture scenes in the show’s first five seasons of “24.” The series’ protagonist, Jack Bauer, was involved in “more than 160 instances of violence” in the show’s six seasons that have killed at least 71 people.

The parents’ group noted that “24” airs during prime-time hours. From 1995 to 2001, there were 110 scenes of torture on prime-time broadcast TV, according to the PTC. That increased to 624 scenes between 2002 and 2005. From 2006 to 2007, there were 212 torture scenes measured by the group.

In other news …

Telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan weighed in on the economic slowdown and its impact on the wireless industry:

“First of all, I believe the cell-phone industry will continue growing very strong once we get past this most recent speed bump. This bump could be a doozy, though, for workers and investors, depending on the part of the industry we are talking about.

“Cell-phone makers will be impacted differently. Smartphone makers are still growing strong for the time being, but much slower than just a few short months ago. The smartphone sector was growing in the 40 to 50 percent range and is now down to the 15 percent range. Much slower than just a few months ago, but still pretty strong. Will it continue to slow? We don’t know, but we should not be surprised.”

Most customers will be looking to cut costs rather than to cancel their wireless services altogether, he predicted.

E-mail Kara Rowland at [email protected]



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