DTV By The (New) Numbers


According to the Federal Communications Commission, here are some new numbers on how many stations are or have pulled the plug on analog, and when:

The FCC says that 220 stations ended analog broadcasts before the original Feb. 17 hard date--which they were allowed to do so long as they got the OK from the FCC first. That included stations in Wilmington, N.C., which agreed to be guinea pigs after the FCC sought a market to test the digital waters. It also included all of Hawaii, which went early to protect an endangered migratory bird.

Then, 421 stations went ahead and pulled the plug on Feb. 17. That was the original hard date before the Obama administration pushed to move it to June 12 to give folks more time to prepare and the government more time to hunt up more money for DTV-to-analog converter boxes after subsidy coupon funding was frozen by an accounting issue.

Another 161 stations pulled the plug between Feb. 17 and June 12, which left 971 to end analog broadcasts June 12. Those are going at different times of the day after the FCC a couple of weeks ago allowed for staggered end times.

Again, according to the latest figures, 186 stations were going all-digital between midnight last night and 6 a.m. this morning, with 239 scheduled between 6 a.m. and noon, 155 between noon and 6 p.m. and the rest (391) by midnight tonight (11:59:59 technically).

An FCC spokesman says the commission continues to monitor the transition's progress via its 200 staffers in the field and "feelers out" to broadcasters, cable operators and converter box manufacturers. It will release early returns on call volumes to its DTV helpline (1-888-CALL-FCC) sometime Friday afternoon, then update them over the weekend.