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641 TV Stations Terminate Analog Signals Early

About 36% of the 1,796 full-powered stations honor original DTV deadline.

Steve Crowe · February 18, 2009

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says 421 TV stations terminated analog signals last night at 11:59 p.m.

Along with the 220 stations that terminated analog signals before Tuesday, a total of 641 stations (about 36 percent of the 1,796 full-power stations) honored the original DTV deadline of February 17. Read the list here (pdf).

That means 1,155 stations will wait until June 12 to switch to digital. According to the FCC, 681 stations wanted to honor the Feb. 17 deadline.

The deadline was delayed four months after Congress passed the DTV Delay Act on its second time through the House. President Barack Obama initially talked about the delay, citing that too many Americans were unprepared.

The FCC has “staffers” in 72 markets across the nation to monitor the early switches. “This is not just about whether people can watch their favorite reality show,” says acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps.

“It’s about whether consumers have access to vital emergency alerts, weather, news and public affairs.”

Here’s a statement from National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) VP for digital television transition Johnathan Collegio:

“Early results from markets where broadcasters have completed their switch to digital are encouraging, given recent changes in the national deadline. For example, the DTV call center in Virginia, where two markets have gone entirely digital, has only received 150 calls from viewers statewide. Stations in Rockford, Ill., report receiving 200 calls from viewers, the majority of which were technical in nature. Stations in Topeka, Kan., took about 300 calls from viewers. In each case, stations were able to resolve most viewer concerns over the phone.

The efforts by stations and their government and industry partners have been extraordinary. With more than 400 stations scheduled to switch at various times throughout the day, we are pleased that thus far call volume appears relatively low in markets where stations switched earlier in the day. Awareness of the transition is saturated in every market nationwide as a result of the broadcast industry’s $1.2 billion consumer education campaign. Viewers are our number one concern, and we are here to help them prepare for the switch.”

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  About the Author

Steve Crowe has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Steve at scrowe@ehpub.com

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  Article Topics

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