Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looks Like 6/12/2009 is the date!

Yesterday the House passed its version of the DTV Delay bill, moving the analog cutoff deadline to June 12, 2009. This action mirrors the action the Senate took last week...an action encouraged and endorsed by President Obama. His signature into law is essentially a formality.

Availability of a coupons towards converter boxes as well as a general feeling that the public is unprepared is the reasoning for the delay. In our market it does give folks who may need to address antenna issues more time, and perhaps better weather, to install or adjust rooftop antennas.

One provision of the new law is the ability for a station to sign analog off earlier than June. Stations in several markets have indicated they will proceed with the February shutoff since they feel their markets are prepared and they wish not to spend un-budgeted dollars towards the high utility bills experienced with running two transmitters. Emergency responders waiting for freed up radio spectrum will be permitted to obtain and use frequencies given up by those broadcasters.

In this blog I have indicated WWNY will be making some technical changes to our digital broadcasts after the analog shutoff. These changes which should improve our broadcast range are now on-hold since the analog shutoff has changed. Even if WWNY and others in our market were to shutoff analog early, we may not immediately be permitted to make those technical changes... So like so many other times I say...please stand-by....more info to come.

5 comments:

W said...

The Mount Mansfield Consortium (led by WCAX) has annou8nced that they will proceed as planned with their switchover on Feb 17 -- this involves WCAX-DT moving from 53 to WVNY former analog position at ch. 22.

While in the Watertown case, no one is out-of-core, and you do not have the environmental issues that they have on Mt Mansfield (the old analog towers are supposed to be removed), what are the issues that preclude you from sitching on Feb 17?

Jim Corbin said...

As I understand it, stations can shut off analog early, but cannot change to post-transition frequencies without FCC review.

They must determine that changes in a market that makes changes, does not interfere with stations that are waiting until June.

So I'm not sure how WCAX can change to WVNY's frequency.

WWNY must pass the no interference issue before we can move from UHF channel 35 to VHF channel 7. There is a 7 in Buffalo...

W said...

WKBW has already filed with the FCC to request an early shutdown.
From the WKBW status report at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101292940&formid=387&fac_num=54176

"THE STATION WISHES TO TERMINATE ANALOG SERVICE ON FEBRUARY 17, 2009, PURSUANT TO BLSTA-20090121AJB."

they filed the STA in http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/forms/prod/cdbsmenu.hts?context=25&appn=101290993&formid=911&fac_num=54176

There reasoning is:
"The Station’s analog termination directly is related to the transition. For almost 3 years –
since Congress in the Digital Television and Public Safety Act of 2005 established February 17,
2009 as the deadline for all television stations to terminate analog broadcast service – the Station
has planned and budgeted to transition as of February 17, 2009. Continued analog operation of
the Station beyond the existing DTV transition deadline would result in a significant financial
hardship, including unbudgeted costs for maintenance of the analog facility and electrical power
consumption. The Station accordingly believes that this instant analog termination is necessary
for purposes of the transition."

Interestingly, it is not clear whether WNGS (which is currently owned by a debto-in-possession), has applied to implement its CP for channel 7. That means that either there will be no ch.7 in Buffalo to interfere with until June 12, or at worst, a lower poser ATSC signal and not a full power NTSC signal.

I haven't checked into the status of the the Albany channel 7 ATSC channel. yet.

Imee said...

the four-month delay is fine by me. i think it's already ample time since now more people are aware and are getting on the waiting list for dtv coupons and such

CarlB said...

WKBW 7 Buffalo analogue is still active, according to http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-288530A2.pdf - an FCC list of all full-service stations as of Feb 16, with those going all-digital in red. WNGS cannot build digital 7 without the pieces left-over from WKBW's eventual abandonment of analogue 7.

That WNGS and WNYI belong to now-bankrupt Equity Media may also prevent them - and a dozen other Equity-owned stations in the same position - from going digital instead of just-plain-dark at the end of transition is also of concern (WKBW operates WNGS under some form of local marketing agreement, but does not own the station).