BC DC

Home For the Holidays

2/19/2009 03:41:05 PM

It appears simply to be coincidence (it was the Presidents Day holiday week), but neither the House nor Senate were around as about a quarter of the TV stations in the country pulled the plug (sort of) on analog TV.

 ”Sort of” because many will keep an analog nightlight burning for emergency and DTV transition info.

Anyway, the flurry of e-mails from varoius senators and congressfolk at each previous step in the peripatetic journey of the DTV hard-date was noticeably absent this week.

A number of those congressfolk had long said they feared their switchboard’s could be flooded,or their offices stormed by pitchfork-weilding mobs of angry viewers. So, was their plan not to be around to face the music or the forks?

Well, no. They actually were even closer to both. Both the Senate and House were scheduled for district work days during the week-long break, which would put them at “ground zeros and ones,’ as it were, if viewers were uprooted in droves by the move of those stations to all digital–OK, almost all-digital.

So far, that has not happened, thanks in large part to broadcasters, I would argue.

Many broadcasters (over 1,000) agreed to keep the analog signal going past Feb.17.

Come to think of it, broadcasters have been pretty accommodating, not that the FCC didn’t put a water pistol to some of their heads in the name of the public interest.

Yes, there was political cover in not squawking too hard when the Obama transition team called for moving the date.  But not pushing back meant accepting increased energy and legal costs for a number of broadcasters, some of whom didn’t need to be jumping through hoops while being kneecapped by a tanking economy. Some argue the networks sold out the rest of the industry by jumping on the date-move bandwagon early, but there were others.

And speaking of jumping through hoops, word has it former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s third child was born Feb. 18,  a girl, Elizabeth. He already has sons Luke and William, so it will now be a three-ring circus at the Martin household.

One day earlier and the ex-chairman would have had one more reason to remember Feb. 17.

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