FCC: 53 'At Risk' Stations Can Switch Feb. 17


Half of the 106 stations that had to comply with various FCC conditions to pull the plug on analog Feb. 17 will be allowed to make the transition to digital.

Initially, the FCC had identified 123 stations that would need to self-certify that they would comply with the conditions, but the number was actually 106 -- as some stations had been misclassified.

Of those 53 that agreed to the conditions, 10 indicated that they had extenuating circumstances for why they wanted to pull the plug but couldn't comply, and 43 decided to stay on the air in analog past Feb. 17.
Depending on where those stations are that will take care of one of the conditions, meaning that at least one station in the market keeps an analog signal on for at least 60 days past Feb. 17 with a minimum of news, public affairs, emergency and DTV education programming, which can contain commercials.
The 53 stations going Feb. 17 join 368 who have already been cleared to do so, meaning that 421 stations -- or 431 if all 10 of the hardship cases are approved -- will be making the transition to al-digital service Feb. 17.
But even that is not quite accurate estimate, since many may continue their own analog nightlight service.