Congress introduces analog ‘nightlight’ legislation

Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would allow broadcasters to continue analog broadcasting an additional 30 days after the Feb. 17, 2009, deadline for the DTV transition.

If the legislation passes — and that’s considered a long shot — broadcasters would still transition their primary channel feeds to digital Feb. 17, but they could continue to broadcast DTV education information and emergency information for an additional 30-day period.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-WV, introduced the bill in the Senate, and in the House, it was introduced by Rep. Lois Capps, D-CA. It was prompted by experiences in Wilmington, NC, when the FCC received several thousand calls from viewers with requests for help of various kinds.

The Senate bill would not require stations to continue broadcasting in analog, but only “encourage and permit” the extra 30-day period. Some stations doing antenna replacements cannot do both signals.