Wilmington DTV Pilot an Opportunity to Better Prepare Nation’s Most Vulnerable

Media 09.9,08

“The vital service that television provides in times of emergency was painfully underscored over the weekend as Wilmington residents tracked the path of Hurricane Hanna. We are thankful that early reports from the Wilmington pilot switch to all-digital television are mostly positive.

However the financial and human resources spent in the Wilmington area to best prepare its residents for the pilot transition will not be replicated in every vulnerable community.

And even with the tremendous effort in Wilmington, early reports show that many residents were still not prepared for the transition. Lessons learned in Wilmington will help officials better understand the nation’s need for a strong government-led rapid response plan.

The government should work closely with Wilmington to flag particular areas of concern that can be shared with local community organizations. With this information, community organizers can better mobilize public education efforts in the most vulnerable markets to make sure as few Americans as possible are left in the dark come February 17, 2009.”