FCC Extends Digital Conversion Deadline For Certain Stations

The FCC has extended the digital conversion deadline for 145 stations that have not completed construction of the facilities necessary to make the switch to digital broadcasting.

The original deadlines were July 1, 2005 for affiliates of the top four networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) and one year later for all others.

Six-month extensions were granted to 107 stations, and two-year extensions to 33 others. Four of those 33 want to use the same top-mounted antenna location for their DTV signal as they do for analog, and twenty-nine will be broadcasting on a different DTV channel than their current one. The FCC decided that the problems brought about by both of these situations were grounds for extensions.

Two stations were denied extensions, but will be allowed to continue broadcasting in analog, and three stations were not only denied extensions, but received official reprimands.

According to the FCC, 1,702 stations are currently licensed for DTV operation, with 1,603 of these currently on the air.