Friday, February 13, 2009

And Finally On The Digital TV Front

It looks like those "alternate showings" are now in the public FCC files for TV stations listed as needing to meet new conditions to sign off analog signals by the original deadline of Tuesday (February 17th).

The filings we've seen support our reporting earlier about the Dayton market, where all full-power commercial stations now say they'll pull back from the February 17th analog shutoff date.

And a Dayton Daily News story this afternoon by Jim DeBrosse confirms our own suspicions - that even though PBS affiliate WPTD/16 "ThinkTV" does have permission to go digital-only next week, they're having second thoughts about being the market's only analog-free station with all the changes in the past couple of days:

The station (...) is consulting with Washington counsel and the Federal Communications Commission to see if it can delay the implementation of its digital-only signal, ThinkTV President David Fogarty said Friday afternoon, Feb. 13.

ThinkTV is scheduled to make the transition at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 18 and is required to do so by the FCC as of now, Fogarty said.

In addition, under FCC rules, the station is required to change channel positions for the transition.

Fogarty said the station is concerned its viewers will be confused if it's the lone station in the region to end its analog signal. What's more, the station will also have to coordinate it new channel position with cable and satellite providers well before other stations make the switch, he said.

"We are exploring our options as of right now," he said.

Lest it seem like we're Dayton Media Watch here, we've independently uncovered some news about the Wheeling/Steubenville through FCC filings.

West Virginia Media CBS affiliate WTRF/7 has indeed filed the new form today, and it is claiming it's ready to go for a Tuesday analog switchoff - checking this option:

I certify that the above-referenced station IS in compliance with the public interest conditions for analog turn off set forth in Public Notice, FCC 09-7, released February 11, 2009.

Assuming we're reading this right, WTRF also has received approval for its plan to move to post-transition digital channel 7.

That move could well have been made easier by another move we've seen confirmed in the FCC filings...WTRF's only in-market competitor, Cox NBC affiliate WTOV/9 Steubenville, has filed with the commission to back down from the February 17th deadline...checking this form option:

The above-referenced station DOES NOT certify to the conditions for analog turn off set forth in the Public Notice, FCC 09-7, released February 11, 2009, and will continue analog service until given FCC authorization (by rule or order) to turn off that service.

The result for Ohio Valley viewers, assuming the FCC doesn't dream up any new roadblocks? WTOV stays on analog 9 on Tuesday, and WTRF's analog 7 is replaced by digital 7, presumably late Tuesday night.

Digital OTA viewers, with the post-transition facilities for WTRF, should have an easier time picking up that station - and its Fox and ABC subchannels.

As for elsewhere, other stations not named in the FCC's infamous List of 123 did not need to file any forms today. Thus, Canton-licensed WOAC/67 is all set to shut off its little-viewed analog 67 transmitter in Brimfield Township on Tuesday night. (Then again, its digital signal isn't exactly pulling in the viewers, either.)

Again, if this doesn't all fall apart before Tuesday...a caveat we keep having to add...and unless something huge comes across the transom here, this is probably our last update digital-TV wise until Tuesday...

1 comment:

Andrew said...

You can tell that WTOV is pretty ticked about the hurdles the FCC put in their way. I was hoping that WTRF would bow out, but I can't say I'm surprised at the outcome since WTRF benefits more by switching to their old analog channel. They are only running a few KW with an STA for digital at the moment.

So much for RTN, which is what I wanted to have here at my place. I can get analog 9. It' just got a little snow in the picture, so I'm hoping that the digital will be strong enough when it comes on. WTOV has RTN on their digital UHF channel, but I can only get it when the conditions are right. As far as I know, RTN is not offered here in the Cleveland market right now. I wonder if there's any news on 43.2's new network that they are supposedly implementing soon?