DTV Waivers Start Arriving at FCC

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A total of 41 television stations are seeking federal waivers from the May 1
deadline to commence broadcasting digital signals in their local markets.

Stations from around the country began filing waiver requests this week with
the Federal Communications Commission, which set the May 1 deadline almost five
years ago when it awarded every commercial TV station a digital-TV license
free-of-charge.

The United States has about 1,300 commercial TV stations. According to the
National Association of Broadcasters, about 250 have met the digital deadline,
but a few hundred are expected to miss it.

The FCC has imposed a March 4 filing deadline for waiver requests.

The stations submitted two-page FCC forms to describe briefly their reasons
for waivers, such as technical, legal and financial problems. Some provided
details, but the majority just checked boxes on the forms.

Nine stations cited purely legal problems, eight purely technical problems
and six purely legal problems. The other stations cited multiple problems and
other unspecified issues.

In the filings, 32 stations requested five-month waivers and eight requested
anywhere from seven months to various points in time next year.

One station, citing major tower-siting problems, said it did not know how
long of an extension it would need.

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