Tracking the elusive DTV

So, how is the digital-television transition going? According to the Federal
Communications Commission's latest figures, of the 1,504 TV stations granted digital-TV construction permits or licenses, 552, or a little more than one-third, are up and
running with digital. Of those, about one-half (277) are licensed and operating full-time. Another 275 are operating under special temporary authority or
experimental authority, which means they are on periodically or "with less than
fully authorized facilities."

Of the 1,504 with CPs or licenses, 843 have now asked for extensions beyond
the May 1, 2002, deadline for building out digital facilities. The FCC has
granted 772 and "admonished" 71 stations, which means not granted but with no
penalty so far beyond admonishment. Another 286 stations have now asked for
second extensions (stations can be given a maximum of two six-month

In the top 10 markets, where the 40 "Big Four" affiliates are all supposed to be
up and running, all but two are, those being WNBC-DT and WABC-DT, both New York,
which had been on the air from the World Trade Center before
Sept. 11.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.