`Fine' time for DTV


Beginning this week, the 71 commercial TV stations admonished by the Federal
Communications Commission for failing to launch digital service must be on the
air with digital TV or face the possibility of fines.

This past spring, the FCC reprimanded the stations for not justifying their
failure to offer digital as of the May 1, 2002, deadline.

Another 772 of the 1,315 commercial stations got six-month extensions that
have now expired.

Second extensions have been requested by 507, with 62 so far given the
additional half-year.

The rest are under review.

Any of the 71 admonished stations that failed to go digital by Dec. 1 can be
issued notices of apparent liability for fines and required to meet a series of
30-day construction milestones.

Any of those stations still without digital signals six months from now
could have their construction permits yanked.