Bill pushing DTV conversion back to June 12 awaits Obama's signature

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Broadcasting & Cable:

After heated debate by legislators Wednesday and a year and a half of broadcasters, cable operators and the government drilling the Feb. 17 'hard' date into the hearts and minds of viewers, the House voted Wednesday to change the cut-off date for analog TV to June 12. The vote was 264 to 158, with more Republicans voting for the delay (23) than there were Democrats (10) going against the Obama administration and party leadership to vote against it. The vote was a victory for the new Obama administration, which pushed for the date change and got little push back from a broadcasting industry not looking to be the skunk at the new president's garden party, as one Republican put it. The vote to approve the bill came after a motion offered by Republicans was defeated that would have required the FCC to force any stations on spectrum to be reclaimed for emergency communications to pull the plug on analog on Feb. 17 as previously scheduled so that spectrum could be immediately turned over for emergency communications. That would also apply to any nearby channels whose continued analog broadcasts could intefere with that first responder spectrum ... It will now be up to broadcasters to decide when to make the switch between now and June 12, since the bill allows them to move early so long as they clear it with the FCC. The FCC said Tuesday that over a thousand stations would still be able to turn off their analog signals before June 12 if they choose to. Some stations have already indicated they are sticking with the Feb. 17 date. The FCC said it had heard from 276 stations to that effect, in addition to 143 stations that had already pulled the plug, and another 60 who said they planned to do so before Feb. 17. The FCC had pointed out that some of those 276 may change their minds once the date changes...Congress Changes DTV 'Hard' Date to June 12 (Wed, 2/4)

 

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on February 4, 2009 4:42 PM.

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