11.04.2003 12:00 PM
FCC denies seven stations' DTV deadline extension requests

With the digital television buildout entering its final phase, the FCC has denied the request of seven stations for an extension of their DTV facility deadlines and have issued them letters of admonishment for failing to justify their requests.

The stations – WVUE in New Orleans, WICZ in Binghamton, N.Y., WKBW in Buffalo, NY, KMVU in Medford, Ore., WSJU in San Juan, Puerto Rico, WDWL in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and WJAR in Providence, R.I. - will have six months to finish building DTV facilities or face financial penalties. Over that period, the FCC will require the stations to give periodic progress reports on conversion efforts and to demonstrate their progress.

In 1997, the FCC put a DTV conversion schedule in place that required ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates and stations in the top 10 markets to have built DTV facilities by May 1, 1999. Affiliates of those networks in markets 11 through 30 were to have completed DTV facilities by Nov. 1, 1999. The FCC required all other commercial stations to have DTV facilities by May 1, 2002 and all non-commercial stations to have such facilities a year later. As of the FCC’s mid-October action, 1,061 stations across the country were making digital television available to viewers. That represents 81 percent of all stations nationally.

The commission also granted the request of 104 stations for an additional six months to begin broadcasting a digital signal. Those 104 stations, which sought a third extension of their DTV deadlines, successfully demonstrated to the commission that they had made progress in their conversions but were prevented from completing it due to acceptable circumstances such as tower siting problems, the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York, and problems with equipment delivery or construction delays.

Another 30 full-power stations that retransmit the programming of another station had their construction deadlines deferred as the commission considers the rules under which such satellite stations must work in making their DTV conversions.

For more information, please visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-250A1.doc.

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