FCC Puts DTV Stations on Notice

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Nearly 60 television stations have entered the danger zone that could result
in the loss of their ability to offer analog or digital television in the years
ahead, Federal Communications Commission sources said Wednesday.

In May 2002, every commercial TV station was required to begin digital TV
service, but hundreds of stations -- 70 percent, in fact -- missed the
deadline.

An FCC source said Wednesday that 58 stations have filed for a third
six-month extension to the May 2002 deadline. Third extensions must be
individually reviewed and approved by the five FCC members.

In an order released Wednesday, the FCC established a three-step process for
stations that have failed to construct digital-TV stations and commence service.
The process culminates with loss of the digital-TV construction permit with a
hearing and loss of the analog license at the end of the digital-TV
transition.

"We intend this sanction to be utilized only as a final measure and trust
that it will be employed in only the most egregious circumstances," the FCC's
12-page order said.

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