43% to Miss Digital-TV Deadline


At least 43 percent of local TV stations plan to miss the deadline set
five years ago to commence broadcasting digital signals, according to the
Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC gave commercial stations until Monday to file waivers from the May 1
deadline to have their digital-TV stations built and operating.

According to the agency, 562 stations filed for permission to miss the
deadline. Another 160 have not been granted FCC permits to build their
digital-TV stations.

As a result, at least 43 percent of the nation's 1,309 commercial TV stations
will not make the May 1 deadline. The percentage will climb if several of the
160 stations without construction permits did not file for waivers.

The National Association of Broadcasters expects that a number of the
stations without construction permits in fact filed for waivers.

In their applications -- 37 of which the FCC has already granted -- TV
stations cited legal, technical and financial problems.

The number of stations that filed waivers exceeded industry estimates.

Last August, the NAB released a survey showing that about
30 percent of stations would need more time to start the