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FCC Says Some Stations Can't Switch Feb. 17

Kim Hart

Earlier this week, nearly 500 TV stations told the Federal Communications Commission they intended to go ahead and switch to digital broadcasts on Feb. 17, the deadline they had been planning on for three years. When Congress delayed the deadline to June 12, the FCC said it reserved the right to prevent stations from switching next week if it posed a public safety threat to particular markets.

Last night, the FCC said that it would not let 123 stations switch on Tuesday. That's mainly because, in some markets, all the major commercial stations were planning on switching. So consumers who aren't yet prepared or are still waiting on coupons to purchase converter boxes could lose access to important public safety information and news alerts.

If stations still want to go ahead and turn off analog signals, they have to do a few things to reassure the FCC that consumers won't be left in the dark. For instance, they have to make sure at least one analog signal is still on the air in the market. And they have to keep some sort of analog signal on for 30 days after they switch in order to air information about the transition and emergency alerts. And they have to step up their public education efforts to make sure viewers are well aware that the switch will indeed happen on Tuesday.

Here's a list of the stations the FCC has concerns about.

By Kim Hart  |  February 12, 2009; 10:23 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

So...what are the plans of the DC stations? Are they switching 2/17 or not?

Posted by: martintomsal | February 12, 2009 12:08 PM

Never mind - I see the link. The DC stations aren't switching early.

Posted by: martintomsal | February 12, 2009 12:09 PM

There are the stations that are switching over early or these are the stations that may not be able to? I don't understand the list. It looks like they won't let any of the stations in Providence, RI switch over, while the stations that service Springfield, Mass., only one will not be allowed to switch. A little confused.

Posted by: dj1123 | February 12, 2009 2:29 PM

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