Update: At least one station has said that the list wrongly included them. Click here for details.
The FCC said Wednesday that 35 full-power TV stations that have been broadcasting in analog have said they will be ceasing operation entirely on or before June 12—meaning they won’t start digital operations after they pull the plug on analog. Although 17 of those 35 have technical issues and the FCC said it expects them back by year's end, and some others could continue using some of another station’s digital real estate in the market.
Of those 35 stations, 18 are owned by one company in bankruptcy, Equity Media, while seven of the 35 stations are affiliates of a major network, the FCC said.
The FCC said it would try to reduce the number that would go dark, pointing out that some of the Equity signals would still be available on the multicast channel of another digital station.
That news came at the FCC's public meeting Wednesday on the status of the DTV transition.
Eloise Gore, associate bureau chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, said that 10 of those 35 stations have already gone dark.
In a press conference following the FCC's DTV briefing Wednesday where 35 stations were cited, all the commissioners expressed concern.
"I am concerned whenever any broadcast station goes dark or shuts down its operation in terms of localism and diversity and competition," said FCC Chairman Michael Copps. "In the face of a disappearance of another newsoom, that is a net loss for the American people."
Commissioner Adelstein called it "almost a perfect storm for the broadcasting industry," citing the unprecedented downturn in advertising due to a variety of factors.
Commissioner Robert McDowell said he hoped the FCC would take broadcasters' "extreme economic duress" into account when it makes new policy.
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