To avoid adding to the “confusion in the marketplace” that is bound to occur at the time of the digital television (DTV) transition next February, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has asked its members to commit voluntarily to a “quiet period” between February 4, 2009 and March 4, 2009, during which broadcasters would refrain from negotiating retransmission agreements with cable companies or suspending service. Fearing that carriage disputes between broadcasters and pay TV providers could leave some cable subscribers without local channel service around the time of the DTV transition deadline, cable operators—particularly small and midsize providers—have pushed for the adoption of a quiet period. Although FCC intervention is not required, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was briefed on the NAB plan during a conference call on Monday. Sources also report that ABC, NBC, Gannett Broadcasting, Tribune Broadcasting, and Univision are among the broadcast entities that have endorsed the voluntary pledge. Because the first sweeps period of 2009 will take place between March 5 and April 1, the proposed quiet period would effectively run longer than the four weeks proposed by the NAB as FCC rules prohibit the removal of broadcast signals from a cable system during a major ratings period. While welcoming the NAB initiative, the American Cable Association (ACA) said that the proposed February 4 start date “is simply too late and will not go far enough to protect consumers.” Noting that many retransmission agreements are scheduled to expire at the end of this year, National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow quipped: “any voluntary quiet period that does not begin before the agreements actually expire . . . represents the illusion of a commitment and does not serve the consumer.”