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NAB Supports Transition Delay Legislation

It may be a long shot, but the NAB Television Board of Directors is endorsing legislation that would allow full-power stations to keep analog broadcasts going for educational and emergency purposes after the current mandated shutoff date of Feb. 17, 2009.

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., have introduced such legislation in their respective chambers.

Both bills are called the Short-Term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness Act. The Capps bill would extend the analog era to March 3, and the Rockefeller version would stretch it 30 days, to March 20.

The bills would have the FCC develop a program for such requests by Jan. 15. The Capps bill specifically says the analog extension could not impinge on the rights of new spectrum licensees.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has said an act of Congress would be needed to allow full-power analog television to continue past Feb. 17, 2009.