Americans from every walk of life use over-the-air television to access emergency information, weather, sports broadcasts and entertainment programs. Out of 30.6 million households across the country that rely on broadcast television, nearly 4.6 million are African American homes. In many markets with large African American communities, a substantially higher percent of African American homes exclusively receive television over-the-air (via an antenna, or in some cases, an HD converter box), as compared to other households in the same market. For example, in Detroit, 15 percent of households rely on over-the-air television, while this number is 33 percent for African American homes.
That’s why it’s so important that the National Urban League and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) work hand-in-hand as television viewers across the nation are impacted by the upcoming broadcast station repack. The mission of the Urban League is to enable African Americans and other underserved urban communities to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights through the delivery of key programs and services. We focus on all African American communities in the U.S. and have a particular interest in the under-resourced socioeconomic segments of the country.
Through our work with NAB we are helping to prepare African American viewers with antennas or HD converter boxes for the upcoming changes to the nearly 1,000 stations moving frequencies between 2018 and 2020. These changes will affect many communities – big and small – so, it is important that viewers are informed and prepared. People may need to rescan their televisions more than once over the next two years to continue accessing the news, weather and shows they rely on from their local broadcasters.
On this effort we have a shared interest in ensuring that we reach those who are most likely to be left behind in this transition – and – for some, viewing free over-the-air local broadcast television may be the only access to local programing and emergency information they have.
We want Urban Leaguers to utilize NAB’s TVAnswers.org website as a resource to learn which stations in their hometowns are moving frequencies and when. Viewers can sign up for text message and email alerts to stay informed and learn more about the process of rescanning. Even if you do not watch local TV with an antenna, you probably know someone who does. Reach out to your neighbors, family and friends, and make sure they retain their broadcast television when changes come to their local TV stations.
To learn more about the National Urban League, visit nul.org, where you can sign up for our emails and RSS feed to receive information about initiatives and campaigns in the Urban League Movement. To connect with us on social, follow @NatUrbanLeague on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.