Meredith Broadcasting says its 11 full-power TV stations will not pull the plug on analog Feb. 17, as originally planned.
"The Meredith Broadcasting Group plans to cooperate with Congress and the FCC by delaying the discontinuation of our analog signal to align with the new date passed by lawmakers," said Paul Karpowicz, President of the Meredith Broadcasting Group, in announcing the decision. "We believe that delaying our transition will help avoid consumer confusion and ensure that our viewers have ample time to prepare."
Congress passed the law this week to move the DTV transition date to June 12. Per the bill's directive, the FCC is allowing stations to cut off analog on Feb. 17 if they still want to, but it will make case-by-case decisions on whether those moves are in the public interest and may not let some stations go early.
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA), who, co-authored the bill, Friday urged stations to stay on until June 12.
The day before he had asked them to put consumers first, but he ratcheted up that appeal Friday.
"Broadcasters in West Virginia and throughout the country are still permitted to move forward with their DTV transition on February 17, but I strongly urge them to instead take advantage of the June 12 delay in every area where consumers are not completely ready," he said in a statement
"This is not just about being able to watch sports or a favorite sit-com. We must do everything we can to make sure that no family loses access to over-the-air broadcast signals because of the important news and public safety information that comes over the television.
"It's my hope that broadcasters look at this delay not as an inconvenience, but an opportunity to provide support for consumers who need it most."
Meredith joins ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo station groups in pledged to continue analog signals.
Stations have until Monday (Feb. 9), to let the FCC know if they still plan to make the switch on Feb. 17.