No pubTV stations denied early shutoff by FCC

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The FCC has denied about a quarter of TV station requests to stop analog broadcasts on Feb. 17, the original DTV transition date. All denials were of commercial stations. The primary issue in turning them down, according to an FCC statement (PDF), was “to ensure that viewers relying on over-the-air television do not lose access to local news, public affairs and emergency information.” Of 491 station requests, 368 will be allowed. Of those, more than 100 will keep running analog transmitters for at least two weeks past Feb. 17 for DTV education and emergency information. According to FCC filings, a total of 138 pubTV stations either went to digital early or are planning to on Feb. 17. Of those, 34 have transitioned and 104 will do so on the original date. One is Georgia Public Broadcasting, which echoed the plight of many pubTV stations in a statement: “After assessing the cost of maintaining a failing analog system until June 12 and the capability to improve the quality of its digital service to viewers, GPB officials determined that it was best to move forward with the digital transition as originally scheduled.” Some 173 public TV stations have alerted the FCC that they are transitioning sometime between Feb. 17 and June 12, the new deadline. The list is complied by stations, not licensees.