Why Bug Congress for DTV Delay?
January 28, 2009 10:54 AM
With the delay of the digital transition from Feb. 17 to June 12 looking almost certain, there is one underlying reason to do it: The networks simply won’t risk another ratings drop during their new seasons and would rather wait until reruns air after the May sweeps.
The Senate voted unanimously for the delay on Monday and the measure awaits likely approval in the House. From there it hits President Barack Obama’s desk for approval to a delay he already has said he supports.
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The delay likely will strain the already tense relationship between the networks and their TV station affiliates. TV stations by and large want to pull the switch as planned, saying they will lose millions of dollars if they need to carry the digital and analog signals until June.
But what’s the big deal? Apparently TV stations who have already received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to switch to digital in February still plan to do just that, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
Now that’s going to be interesting, depending on how many TV stations opt to do that, and in the process create real marketplace confusion.
That begs the question of whether those TV stations that have FCC approval should be allowed to switch to digital on Feb. 17.