56% of the 1,798 active television stations in the USA are ready to fire on all cylinders when the DTV transition kicks in 2/17/09, and 41% are not quite there but anticipate no problems meeting that deadline, according to a study released by the FCC. 3% will be temporarily reach at least 85% of their coverage are with full service expected to follow shortly. 234 of the stations not yet up and running are dealing with special circumstances. 92 are working through issues with other stations; 60 are looking for a new post-transition DTV channel; 35 are having trouble with financing; 24 are hung up on local land-use issues; 10 have to coordinate with Mexico; eight have pending FCC issues; and five are working with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Only one station anticipates completely missing the transition, but says that although it may be dark that day and for a few days thereafter, it will be ready to go within a few days of the deadline.
RBR/TVBR observation: We never had any doubt that broadcasters would be ready for the transition – it’s truly a do-or-die situation. For the same reason, broadcasters have a vested interest in bringing their audience along with them into the DTV age. We expect most will be pleasantly surprised about how well the transition goes next February. Of course, we’ll find out if we have to revise that opinion in just about 10 days. Thanks again, Wilmington NC.