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DTV-delay requests pour in on deadline

By the close of an application window Monday, 562 commercial TV stations
requested Federal Communications Commission extensions to the May 1 deadline for
constructing digital-transmission facilities.

Just over 40
percent of the industry is seeking an extra six months to
build facilities.

That number may change somewhat as the FCC finishes processing last-minute

Although the number of stations asking for more time is larger than the
one-third predicted by the FCC this summer, industry officials said most need
only a few extra months because of zoning snags, equipment delays and a shortage
of construction crews.

Among the major groups seeking delays:

' Tribune Broadcasting seeks extensions for eight of its 23 stations

' The
Gannett Co. for eight of its 22 stations

' Fox Broadcasting Co. for two of its 42.

Paxson Communications Corp. -- unique among broadcasters becaue it already
has the right to delay digital TV for 19 stations on channels 52 through 69 --
nevertheless needs permission to delay buildouts at 10 stations. Paxson also has
nine other stations not yet with digital assignments.