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DTV Transition Date Officially Moved to June 12, 2009

February 2009
President Obama signed into law the DTV Delay Act that serves to move the digital television transition from February 17th to June 12th.
Irrespective of this delay, many stations will proceed with the termination of analog operation on February 17th. Additional information regarding the procedures for termination of analog service may be found in the group’s prior advisories on the subject, which may be accessed via the links provided below:

A PDF version of this entire article can be found at President Obama Signs DTV Delay Act Into Law.

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February 2009
On February 13, 2009, the FCC released a Report and Order implementing the DTV Delay Act. Pursuant to the Report and Order, the following authorizations are modified as noted:

  • Analog Television Licenses: expiration date extended from February 17, 2009, to June 12, 2009, (11:59:59 PM local time);
  • Post-Transition DTV Construction Permits: expiration date extended from February 17, 2009, to June 12, 2009, (11:59:59 PM local time);
  • Special Temporary Authority grants for analog reduction related to the DTV transition: expiration date extended from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009 (11:59:59 PM local time);
  • Special Temporary Authority grants for operation of pre-transition digital facilities at variance to pre-tran­sition license or construction permit: expiration date extended from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009, (11:59:59 PM local time);
  • Authority to commence post-transition digital operation: moved from February 18, 2009 to June 13, 2009, (12:00 AM local time).

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February 2009
Pursuant to the FCC’s February 5th Public Notice, “Procedures Regarding Termination of Analog Television Service On or After February 17, 2009,” any station wishing to early terminate analog operation was required to notify the FCC no later than February 9th. On February 10, the FCC released a list of the 491 stations that had filed this notification indicating their intent to terminate analog operations on February 17th. Yesterday evening, February 11th, the FCC announced that 123 of these stations will be required to undertake supplemental public interest initiatives in order to proceed with analog termination on February 17th. A copy of this list is attached.

As outlined in the attached Public Notice, any station listed that wishes to proceed with analog termination on February 17th must file a “Certification/Alternate Showing: Analog termination on February 17, 2009” form with the FCC no later than 6:00 EST Friday, February 13th representing that a number of additional DTV-related information/assistance efforts will be undertaken. Stations that certify to these conditions will be permitted to cease analog operation without receiving any additional authorization from the FCC.

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February 2009
Pursuant to the FCC’s February 5th Public Notice, “Procedures Regarding Termination of Analog Television Service On or After February 17, 2009,” any station wishing to “early” terminate analog operation was required to notify the FCC no later than February 9th of their intent to do so.

On February 10th, the FCC released a list of the 491 stations that filed this notification indicating their intent to terminate analog operation on February 17th. The list also reflects the 190 stations that have already terminated analog operations or intend to do so prior to February 17th.

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2/6/2009
Members of our Communications Group sought and received clarification from the FCC staff regarding ambiguities in the FCC’s February 5th Public Notice on Procedures Regarding Termination of Analog Television Service On or After February 17, 2009.

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On Wednesday, February 4th, John Hane, Counsel in Pillsbury’s Communications practice, participated in a Webinar session entitled “Retrans Agreements: What the Other Side Knows…That You May Not.”

Retransmission agreements are growing more complex and retransmission fees are becoming a bigger share of broadcast revenue. As business approaches and technology evolve, broadcasters are packing more content into their signals and expanding their web offerings. Some cable operators are asking for more than simple retransmission rights when they pay cash to broadcasters. This can have a big impact on broadcast operations.

The Webinar session addressed the changing face of retransmission consent, and what station and station group executives need to know before their next round of negotiations. The Webinar also discussed post-agreement issues, including the mechanics of fee computation.

Questions addressed included:

  • How can retransmission agreements restrict broadcast business opportunities?
  • Can both sides benefit from deployment of new technologies like mobile video and interactive broadcasting?

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