FCC seeks early adopters for DTV test

The FCC has been looking for a market to test signal interference and other issues related to the transition to DTV broadcasting before the mandatory February 2009 switchover, but so far no one has been willing to participate.

Chairman Kevin Martin and other members of the commission’s Media Bureau have spent several weeks seeking a market where all the TV stations in that market would volunteer to make the switch to digital late this summer or early fall, several months before the mandated Feb. 17, 2009, deadline.

Broadcasters, according to a report on the Web site of “TV Newsday,” have been politely declining, telling the chairman that they would rather not cut off their analog service any sooner than they absolutely have to, for a number of reasons (both technical and practical).

The FCC has approached stations in several markets, including Youngstown and Columbus, OH; Gainesville and Fort Myers, FL; Madison WI; Yakima, WA; Lexington, KY.; Santa Barbara, CA; Wilmington, N.C., and Shreveport, LA. Thus far, only stations in three markets — Santa Barbara, Wilmington and Shreveport — are considering the matter.