FCC Acts on DTV Extension Requests

The FCC granted 104 stations a third extension of their DTV construction permit at its Oct. 16 Open Meeting. Seven stations were given six months to "complete construction of their facilities or face financial sanctions." These seven stations were admonished for failing to adequately justify an extension and will be required to submit periodic reports "to ensure that construction is proceeding." The remaining 30 stations requesting extensions are classified as "satellite stations" that retransmit all or part of the programming of their parent station. The FCC is considering whether these stations should be allowed to "flash cut" to DTV at the end of the transition and deferred their construction deadlines until that is resolved.

An FCC news release DTV Transition Moving Forward: FCC Says More Than 80% of Commercial DTV Stations are on the Air, reported that 1,061 stations (81 percent of all commercial stations) are on the air with a DTV signal. The 141 stations the FCC considered last week had requested a third extension of their DTV construction permit, which under FCC rules could only be granted by the Commissioners. There are other commercial stations not yet on the air with DTV that did not require a third extension due to FCC delays in issuing their first DTV construction permits.

The news release went on to say that the 104 stations granted third extensions "demonstrated that their request was warranted and showed progress on construction of their facilities since the grant of their last extension." Examples of the delays these stations encountered included delays in equipment delivery; local tower siting problems; the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York; stations waiting FCC action on rulemakings or applications' and stations with financial problems."

The seven stations that were admonished and given six months to complete construction are:

* WVUE, New Orleans
* WICZ, Binghamton, N.Y.
* WKBW, Buffalo, N.Y.
* KMVU, Medford, Ore.
* WSJU, San Juan, Puerto Rico
* WDWL, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
* WJAR, Providence, R.I.