DTV Nightlight Bill Signed Into Law

Dec 23, 2008  •  Post A Comment

President George W. Bush has signed the DTV “nightlight” bill into law, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The White House confirmed the president signed the law, allowing stations that are able to keep broadcasting an analog signal after the Feb. 17 shutoff date, the trade says. Under the Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness (SAFER) Act, stations that choose to keep broadcasting in analog may transmit DTV information, emergency alerts and any weather news that broadcasts on digital signals, B&C says.
—Sergio Ibarra

One Comment

  1. The law gives the FCC a Congressional mandate to “encourage and permit” the voluntary continuation of analog signals, then slips the word “only” before the mention of DTV and weather info. One problem: the FCC cannot regulate broadcast content, which is constitutionally protected speech. Thus the bill cannot stop stations from continuing full analog service if they also abide by the provision to provide DTV info and emergency weather info (which any station would do). How many stations will continue full service on their analog feed along with a TV “crawl”? None of the trades have addressed this, to my knowledge. Also, a new report from the FCC states that DTV coverage will shrink the signal footprint of 11 percent of stations. FCC also approved use of repeater technology to fill in the gaps… won’t all that take time? Shouldn’t the industry ask Congress to mandate continuation of analog so that broadcasters don’t have to make costly makegoods to advertisers? The Dems under Rockefeller will be amenable, because they don’t want to see elderly, disabled, poor and Hispanic viewers disenfranchised due to technical shortcomings, or because they haven’t yet gotten their converter coupon in the mail.

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