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Numbers Indicate Close to a Third of U.S. TV Stations Modifying Final DTV Facilities

This week I’ve added a new field to the spreadsheets I extract from the FCC Media Bureau’s CDBS database and post at

The field, “dtv_type” is in the “applications.dat” table. Database entries before the field are added are blank, but newer applications indicate if the application is “POSTTRAN”, or post-DTV-transition only; “BOTH” meaning the change applies to facility before and after the Feb. 17, 2009 transition date; or “PRETRAN”, meaning it applies to facilities operational before the transition date and not after it.

Using the menu item under “Data” labeled “AutoFilter” in Excel or Calc you can filter results to include only pre-transition applications or applications affecting post-transition facilities. I know in the past at least one company used my spreadsheets to generate channel listings. If anyone is still using them for that purpose, excluding “POSTTRAN” entries should eliminate any references to channels that won’t be on the air until Feb. 18, 2009.

I used the “dtv_type” field to see how many applications and construction permits the FCC had processed for final DTV facilities where either “POSTTRAN” or “BOTH” was indicated in the field. It’s obvious the FCC has been very busy. A total of 404 new construction permits affecting post-transition facilities have been approved and an additional 56 construction permits have been granted for modifications. Only 145 applications remain to be processed. Combined, the number of construction permits, modified construction permits and applications represents approximately a third of all U.S. TV licensees! For details, see the DTV Station Status per FCC CDBS – May 7, 2008 table.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.