Happy DTV Transition Day, Part 1

Today is the originally scheduled date of the DTV transition. Some television stations will make the transition from antiquated analog to cool new digital broadcasting on this very date. Others will have to wait till June 12. Let's look at the current tally.

There are 1796 full-power TV stations in the United States. Of those, 220 made the transition prior to today, according to this News Release (PDF) from the Federal Communications Commission. Another 1155 stations plan to wait till June 12, under recently enacted the DTV Transition Delay Act. Caught in between are 491 stations who last week declared their intention to cut analog today, which is allowed in a clause of the delay bill.

Concerned that some TV markets would lose too many stations at once, the FCC demanded some of them demonstrate that their transitions would not cause too much havoc. Initially the FCC announced there were 123 members of this group, but in its latest Public Notice (PDF), the number of challenges has been reduced to 106.

The latest news is that of these 106 stations, 53 met the FCC's requirements and will make the transition today. Another 10 are "under review." Finally, 43 stations have agreed to delay their transitions till June. Click on the numbers to see stations lists in Excel format. And here is the full Report and Order.

The number of DTV stations making their transitions either prior to today or on this date totals 641. That is about 36 percent of all stations, while another 64 percent are delaying till June. See the FCC list (Excel) with those transitioning today indicated in red. That is where things stand on DTV Transition Day--Part 1. We look forward to reporting on Part 2 in June.

FCC staffers will be busy this week. They will be targeting 72 markets where one or more of the top four network affiliates are going all-digital. Staffers will visit stores where convertors are sold, distribute how-to info, and work the desks in DTV walk-in centers. There will be outreach to seniors, low-income families, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations. FCC call centers will have 2506 specialists on hand plus another 1759 agents provided by industry partners. You can reach them at 1-888-CALLFCC. If you need a primer on what the DTV transition is, and what to do, check out our Digital TV To-Do List.

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