FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Knows the Shift to Digital TV is Hard

Just because he's young--41--and a government bureaucrat doesn't mean he doesn't get it.

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Just because he's young—41—and a government bureaucrat doesn't mean that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is immune to the pain of millions of Americans who face a TV blackout next February if they don't update their old sets. "I grew up in a rural area outside of Charlotte, N.C. Didn't have cable, couldn't get it," he says. "We had rabbit ears and a rooftop antenna" that needed to be adjusted to make Happy Days clear, he says. So, when he makes the case that Americans with predigital TVs have to switch to cable or satellite or get a signal converter box, "I get it," he says. "When I'm trying to describe what steps need to be taken," adds Martin, "I think about how I'd talk to my mom and dad when I was growing up."