The Federal Communications Commission has released some breakdowns of stations that asked to pull the plug on analog service Feb. 17. There are 19 markets -- home to 5.1 million TV households -- where all four of the major network affiliates want to make the transition on that date. Moreover, in 17 of those DMAs all of the stations in the market want to switch.
There are an additional 15 markets (2.3 million TV households), where all four of the network affiliates aren't ready to make the change, but many do want to switch on Feb. 17. The commission has not released a list of those markets, but there are some the FCC is giving special attention to as it decides which stations can switch and which ones will have to continue in analog in the public interest.
The agency had to make those calls after Congress changed the DTV hard date from Feb. 17 to June 12. TV stations that still wanted to switch on Feb. 17 had to tell the FCC by Feb. 9, and 491 of them indicated they were ready by what was the federal government's original hard deadline.
The FCC has said that it may deny some of those requests where the move would negatively impact viewers, saying all the affiliates in a market switching, or markets where the only stations doing local news all preferred to change. Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps has said the FCC would inform stations as soon as possible whether they would be able to pull the plug Feb. 17, but time is growing short.