Rockefeller Urges TV Stations To 'Put Consumers First'

Wants broadcasters to think about consumers needs before making the digital switch before June 12

Related: The DTV Countdown - Complete Coverage of the DTV Transition 

Senator Jay Rockefeller is gently encouraging broadcasters not to rush en masse to pull the plug on analog before June 12.

It was Rockefeller's date-change bill that the House passed Wednesday and that the president is expected to sign in the next couple of days.

The bill still allows broadcasters to switch to digital on Feb. 17 or anytime before June 12, and hundreds are expected to do so.

But Rockefeller was urging TV stations to "put consumers first." 

"“While broadcasters are still permitted to move forward on February 17, and some will do so, I hope that many will think of the needs of their customers and carefully weigh their options. This bill gives them an opportunity to stay the course through to June 12 until more help can be put in place.”

One of the Republican's arguments against moving the date was that, according to acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps, a majority of stations 61%, would probably move early. However, what Copps said was that 61%, or a little over a thousand stations, could move without causing interference, not that all those stations would move.

Still, several hundred stations have already moved or indicated they would before or by Feb. 17, though the FCC points out some of those may decide not to now that the date has changed.