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WSWG Requests Early Analog Shutdown

Several analog TV stations operating above Channel 51 have requested and received authority to shut down their analog signal before the end of the DTV transition.

Gray Television, licensee of WSWG in Valdosta, Ga., which transmits in analog on Channel 44, is one of the few stations below Channel 52 to request early shutdown. The FCC, in a letter released Jan. 30, granted WSWG permission to operate as a digital-only station on Channel 45.

WSWG’s analog facility has been silent since Jan. 30, 2007, when it “experienced extensive equipment failure.” Gray said the equipment can no longer be repaired and the cost of purchasing and installing new transmitting gear would exceed $180,000, which would be “financially devastating.”

The entire area of within WSWG’s Grade B contour is encompassed by the Grade B contour of WCTV, licensed in Thomasville, Ga., and also owned by Gray. Both stations are CBS affiliates with almost identical programming.

The FCC agreed the public interest would not be served by requiring Gray to construct a new analog replacement facility, given its unique relationship with WCTV.

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.