Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: February 5, 2009

The FCC released today the new rules for the transition to digital television resulting from congressional action yesterday. While the DTV Delay bill has yet to be signed by President Obama. That is expected to be a formality.  Checkout the FCC Public Notice if you are real interested in the options provided to broadcast stations.

We’ll know for sure if a station plans to take their analog transmissions off by next Monday, when the FCC mandates all stations to file information required to turn off analog on February 17th. Other stations, such as WOSU, will file later to take their stations off before the new June 12th deadline. And some stations in the country plan to stay on until the June 12th mandated shutdown. Some are predicting that only a small percentage of stations will wait that long. The issue for many stations is the cost of running an analog transmitter, but the other issue is that many stations including WOSU cannot maximize their DTV power until their analog is shutdown.

FCC Chairman Copps today put it this way in a statement today: We have a balance to strike. On the one hand, the fundamental premise of the new law is that many consumers are not ready, that coupons are unavailable to them, and that they haven’t been adequately informed about how to prepare, why they are having difficulty getting reception, and where they can turn for help. On the other hand, we must proceed cognizant of the requirement to retain sufficient flexibility to recognize the unique circumstances of individual stations in markets across the country.

I’ll post this weekend more about WOSU plans and the reasoning behind them, but first we’re taking part in a gathering of general managers from the Columbus market to discuss and compare our plans.

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