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FCC might say no to 100s of stations requesting to transition to digital next week

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February 11th, 2009

from Broadcasting & Cable:

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps would not pin down when the FCC would let the 491 stations wanting to pull the plug on analog Feb. 17 know whether they will be able to or not, but some guidance could be coming out later today, he said.

In his first press conference since taking over as acting chairman Jan. 20, Copps reiterated that the FCC would get back to stations with an answer as soon as it could. "All I can say is as soon as possible," Copps said, pointing out that the commission was working with ridiculous deadlines. He said that everyone had to understand that. "We're down to a matter of days getting the word out to all the stations and getting information in and feedback and guidance out. It is a very trying challenge and we are trying to do that as quickly as possible," he said.

Copps said that "dislocation and confusion" are occurring, but that there would have been more of both if the DTV hard date had not been moved from Feb. 17 to June 12 (which Congress voted to do last week).

Stations should be informing viewers about the Feb. 17 deadline-per the FCC's implementation of the date-change bill-even though some won't be allowed to pull the plug on that date.

Additional background including stations requesting to transition early can be found here.

 
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