Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here's That FCC Early Analog Shutoff List

The Federal Communications Commission has indeed released a list of TV stations that have filed to terminate analog broadcasting on or before the original February 17th deadline.

Stations which have filed for an early termination of analog are listed here (PDF file) in Appendix A. The list starts with stations which have already turned off analog broadcasting, including Northern Ohio's WNEO/45 Alliance and WMFD/68 Mansfield, then the list goes to those filing for next Tuesday's original deadline.

Quoting the FCC:

Appendix A to this Public Notice contains a list of the 190 stations that have terminated or will be terminating their analog operations before February 17, 2009, and the 491 stations that notified the Commission on February 9 of their intent to terminate their analog operations on February 17, 2009.

Those 681 stations are listed in bold, red print among all other stations in Appendix B (another PDF file).

A quick check of the lists shows that our earlier reports still hold up, including the late change by Youngstown's WKBN/27 and WYTV/33 to keep analog going until June, the split filing by Sinclair in Columbus (WSYX/6 keeps analog, WTTE/28 goes all-digital), Media General not filing for early transition for WCMH/4 in that market, and other anomalies we've already pointed out.

And, here is the link for the public notice (PDF) about the list's release, which contains a stern reminder that the commission will not just let all these filings go through:

We remind stations that intend to terminate analog operations on February 17, 2009 that consistent with their public interest responsibilities and Congress’ delay of the transition to June 12 to give consumers additional time to prepare, the Commission has reserved the right to limit or reconsider the partial waiver of the Third Periodic Review Report & Order’s early termination procedures granted in the February 5 Public Notice in the event that the Commission determines that analog termination on February 17 by a station or group of stations is contrary to the public interest. In such event, the Commission will promptly notify the affected station or stations.

The FCC again brings up a situation that could cause them to swoop in:

The Commission may consider such action if, for example, it finds that all or most of the stations in a market will terminate their analog service on February 17, and that the market is one in which many viewers are unprepared for the transition or at risk if the transition proceeds.

In such case, the Commission may require affected stations to submit additional information to explain and justify how their early termination advances the public interest. Such additional information can include significant economic, technical, contractual and other business reasons that support termination on February 17, and efforts being made to protect consumers from service disruptions.

The Commission will scrutinize such information closely in light of the important interests at stake to determine whether a compelling case has been made.

That sound you hear is TV station executives in Dayton, where all stations but the TBN O&O (WKOI/43 Richmond IN) have filed to go early, digging for a phalanx of supporting evidence to meet the above.

(In this economy, and given the current state of the TV business, it's probably not going to be diffcult to find "significant economic reasons" to meet the FCC's apparent criteria. But the agency seems determined to "enforce" the new June 12th date as much as they can, and will make stations go through hoops - one week before the February 17th original deadline.)

Like all such lists, the FCC list has some inaccuracies...though we haven't found any, locally.

We're guessing that the hobbyist-compiled list shepherded by 20 year-old Virginia college student Trip Ericson will prove more accurate in the end...though for now, Trip's list is still being updated.

As we spent a lot of time in the FCC database early this morning to compile our own item covering just Ohio markets, we sympathize with Mr. Ericson, very, very much...


emery_r said...

One minor inaccuracy in Appendix A -- Dayton's WKEF-22 is an ABC affiliate, not NBC. WDTN-2 is properly listed as the NBC affiliate in Dayton.

It also strikes me as notable that Cincinnati's WSTR-64, and four Dayton stations (WDTN-2, WHIO-7, WKEF-22 and WRGT-45) are all listed as being Nightlight Program participants. Haven't pored through the entire Appendix carefully, but Dayton stands out with as many Nightlight stations as any other market I saw, and more than most. Maybe I'm weird, but this public service (for which they'll all incur some power costs) ought to be applauded, and might sway the FCC to approve Dayton's mass exodus from analog service.

Matt said...

Fox 28 here in Columbus (WTTE) is making a big deal about their shut off... they are even doing phone banks and they showed reporters going to folks houses to assist with the hook up of the converters..

It will be interesting to see if there is really any noise come shut off date next week.

I still say if we see a few markets switch and there is no flack for it or big out cry we'll see more folks wanting to pull the plug before June (if anything for the economic reasons of keeping those old analog beasts going)

Trip said...

No kidding. I don't know when I'm going to get it caught up, though having a team of people to help me out does make it easier. I'm making anything north and east of Virginia (inclusive) my top priority. I have a guy handling Ohio, so that shouldn't fall behind too badly.