FCC gels new DTV deadlines rules


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.