Two Stations Want To Pull Analog Plug

The FCC's Media Bureau has received two more requests from stations that want to "flash-cut" to digital-only broadcasts, pulling the plug on their analog channels and going all-digital before the 2009 deadline.

The stations, both Christian Television stations, are WGNM (ch. 64)  Macon, Ga., and WFGC (ch. 61) Palm Beach, Fla.

Last fall, the FCC approved the second flash-cut, WLNY New York, which was compensated by wireless company Qualcomm for making the switch and returning its analog spectrum. The first flash cut was actually to analog, with Paxson turning in its digital channel in Buffalo, N.Y., to broadcast in analog-only until the official switch to digital.

The FCC is considering each request on a case-by-case basis. It is encouraging broadcasters on channels 60-69 to return their analog spectrum early since that portion of the spectrum band is being reallocated to advanced wireless services--like Qualcomm's wireless video service--as well as to first responders.

Qualcomm was not involved in the most recent flash-cut requests, according to the FCC.

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.