Sen. Clinton asks FCC to ensure no loss of broadcast coverage after analog shutdown

Worried that her rural New York State constituents will lose access to over-the-air broadcasts after the analog shutdown, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has asked the FCC to give stations greater flexibility to maintain current audience coverage.

“When analog broadcasting terminates in February 2009, some viewers could lose service,” Clinton wrote to FCC chairman Kevin Martin. “For some, this is a result of confusion early in the transition process when stations had to choose between ‘maximization’ and ‘replication’ for the build-out of their post-transition digital facilities.”

Clinton cited WWNY-TV, a CBS affiliate, in Watertown, NY, as an example. “In the channel election process, the licensee wanted to ‘maximize’ its digital signal and therefore chose ‘maximization,’” the senator wrote. “Subsequently, the station has learned that ‘maximization’ would mean nearly 59,000 viewers would not be able to see the station after the transition. The station should have chosen to replicate, because this more closely mirrors WWNY-TV’s current analog broadcast pattern.”

The New York senator and Democrat presidential candidate said viewers should not be deprived of a “much needed source of local news and information” due to confusion on the part of the station licensee. “I am asking the FCC to give stations in these circumstances the opportunity to amend their election,” she said.