It took some wrangling, but, in a second vote last week, the U.S. House followed the Senate in passing a bill that delays the national switch to digital television from Feb. 17 to June 12 -- a victory of sorts for activists who say that switch will cut broadcast analog TV for the poor, elderly, and non-English speakers who were not reached by glitzy TV commercials warning of the change.
Broadcasters are not obligated to put off the switch, however, and some have said they won't. To help households prepare their older televisions -- which require a digital converter box, in most cases -- the Washington, D.C.-based Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education is funding three local DTV Assistance Centers that three groups opened last week in Seattle.
Reclaim the Media and Para Los Ninos are operating question-and-answer hotlines at (206)508-1277 (English) and (206)988-3760 (Spanish). Hotlines are also available for Chinese at (800)582-4218 and Vietnamese at (800)582-4336. The Youngstown Cultural Arts Center is also conducting weekly trainings at a drop-in center that's open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at 4408 Delridge Way S.W. in Seattle.