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Senate beats back effort to advance analog switch-off

By a vote of 69 to 30, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to advance the hard date for cessation of analog television transmission by one year from the April 7, 2009, approved two weeks ago by the Senate Commerce Committee.

McCain’s effort, the second in recent weeks, would have brought down the curtain on analog TV transmission April 7, 2008. The Arizona senator again took up the issue and the related issue of freeing spectrum for emergency first responders in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

According to NAB vice president Dennis Wharton, the association regards the defeat of the McCain amendment as a victory for broadcasters and viewers who will — with the 2009 hard date — have sufficient time to make final preparations for the analog switch-off.

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