Several English-language TV stations along the border with Mexico have opposed efforts by Spanish-language stations to extend analog shutdown deadline for up to five additional years.
Executives from about a dozen border stations opposed the DTV Border Fix Act, which would allow qualified TV stations within 50mi of the border to broadcast in analog until 2014. The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, and Barbara Boxer, D-CA.
The proposed law “threatens to put viewers along the border in a state of limbo,” the executives wrote in a letter to the House Energy & Commerce Committee and its Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee. “Spanish-language broadcast interests have really pushed this because they want to continue transmissions to Mexico under the guise of emergency messages.”
The stations wrote, “We have spent literally millions of dollars to be digital-ready on 2/17/09. Many of us have multiple channels including local weather channels and targeted entertainment formats to better serve our markets and fulfill the promise of enhanced digital technologies. In the difficult financial environment today, should Congress now add the significant financial burden to border broadcasters of continuing analog broadcasting operations for an additional five years?“
Among the station owners represented on the letter were Tribune, Pappas Telecasting, Cox Television, McGraw-Hill, Sunbelt Communications and News Press & Gazette.