San Diego Stations to Keep Feb. 17 Deadline

The majority of San Diego television broadcasters have decided to hold tight to the original Feb. 17 analog shutdown deadline.

In a Jan. 29 meeting, representatives from KFMB-TV, KGTV, KNSD, KSWB-TV and KUSI-TV decided to go ahead with their original plans to make the full transition to digital broadcasting at midnight on Feb. 17, the deadline originally set by the U.S. government. The lone holdout was public television station, KPBS. Leon Messenie, who represented KPBS at the meeting, said that if possible, his station would like to keep its analog signal going until a planned March viewer pledge drive is over.

Another television station serving the San Diego market, XETV, is licensed in Mexico and has no plans to kill off analog broadcasting until required to do so by the Mexican government. That probably won’t occur for several years.

The San Diego stations met after the Senate voted to delay the nationwide DTV cutover for several months. Although a similar measure was defeated shortly afterwards in the House, a second attempt at legislation for delaying the transition is expected this week and this bill is forecast to have a good chance for passage.

The southern California broadcasters cite continuing high electric power costs as the reason for wanting to abandon their duplicated transmissions as soon as possible. The stations say that with revenues down and only about seven percent of the market’s television homes receiving signals off-air, dropping analog as soon as possible makes a lot of sense.