The Obama transition team asked Congress and the FCC to delay the digital television transition because the Feb. 17 deadline would cause too much confusion — and because converter coupon problems could keep millions of households from making the switch. That turned out to be a great way to sow even more confusion, with nearly 500 TV stations in markets across the US planning to jump the analog ship anyway, even though the delay until June 12 became official today. President Obama signed the DTV Delay Act a day after the FCC released the lengthy list of stations planning to switch on or before the original target date of Feb. 17. (Excel version of the list; PDF.)
The FCC can deny some of the requests and, as Ted Hearn reports, Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps says the commission will consider that option in markets that might go completely dark next Tuesday or would be without a local news broadcast. The FCC says 17 markets are at risk, covering 2.3 million (2.1 percent) TV households.