If you’re planning to shut down analog television service prior to the new hard deadline for DTV, make sure the FCC knows about it before you dig into your green beer tomorrow. 3/17/09 is the deadline to share your plans with the Commission. And don’t even think about shutting down prior to 4/16/09, unless you’re a noncom that can demonstrate dire financial distress linked to continued side-by-side analog/digital operation. Major network affiliates can shut down only if 90% of the market will have analog access to another major network affiliate. And you’ll have to give your viewers 30 days notice.
Beginning 4/1/09, viewers must be clued in if your station is going to lose 2% of more of its analog coverage area after the switch; they’ll have to be taught antenna basics; they’ll have to be reminded to periodically use the rescan function on their converter boxes to hunt for digital signals; and they’ll need to be apprised of the location of the nearest walk-in DTV education center, the FCC call center and the applicable TTY number.
Full details are available at fcc.gov.