B'casters unfazed by spectrum deadline

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Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) may be talking tough about imposing a hard 2006 deadline
for reclaiming TV stations' analog spectrum, but the House Energy and Commerce
Committee chairman's threat isn't panicking broadcasters.

"Chairman Tauzin is wedded to a date certain," and 2006 will be that date in
digital-TV legislation introduced next year, aide Jessica Wallace told an Association
for Maximum Service Television (MSTV) crowd last week.

But the idea is opposed by many committee members -- fearing a consumer
backlash -- and other staffers said the give-back deadline will move back.

If it doesn't, broadcast trade groups are expected to let Tauzin take any
consumer heat for consigning 300 million sets, VCRs and other TV appliances to
the junk pile.

"It's not our issue," one lobbyist said. "We're already facing
digital-service deadlines. We'll let him deal with the fallout if he wants to
cut off analog service."

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