Oh, Never Mind

UPDATE 2/13/09 5:15 PM: And there goes WBDT/26…and maybe even WPTD/16.

The unraveling of the Dayton Early Digital Transition is nearly complete, as Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter writes on his blog about that market to his north:

4:25 p.m. update: WBDT-TV (Ch 26), the CW affiliate, also keeping analog on.

4:30 p.m. update: As of now Ch 16 will drop analog after Tuesday. This just in from the station: “ThinkTV is consulting with Washington counsel and the FCC. ThinkTV 16 (WPTD) is scheduled to begin digital-only broadcast at 12:01 AM on February 18 and is required to do so by the FCC as of now.”

The ThinkTV folks sound like they may join the rest of the market in keeping analog going – perhaps because of an upcoming pledge drive – at least some time after Tuesday. The regional PBS outlet is keeping Cincinnati-market WPTO/14 in analog past Tuesday.

As for OMW, we’re glad we didn’t book any hotel rooms in Dayton for Tuesday night!

Kiese notes that he’s once again reconfirmed that in his home market of Cincinnati, Sinclair MyNetwork TV outlet WSTR/64 is still planning on shutting off analog 64 on Tuesday.

At this rate, it appears WSTR is the only full-power TV outlet in Southwest Ohio that will do so…if that decision even holds up…

UPDATE 2/13/09 4:31 PM: And there goes WDTN/2.

The LIN TV NBC affiliate in Dayton has joined the “We’re Not Shutting Off on February 17th Parade” with this announcement posted online just an hour ago:

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – WDTN was preparing to discontinue broadcasting its analog signal at midnight on February 17, 2009.

After further review, we have decided to delay the transition to digital. Therefore, we will continue broadcasting WDTN’s analog signal, as well as assist viewers with questions through news coverage.

WDTN’s move now means that all four Dayton major network affiliates will keep analog going after Tuesday. (We have no word on if CW affiliate WBDT/26 is still planning to make its switch.)

You might notice that WDTN’s announcement does not specify that the station will transition at the new national switch date of June 12th. We’re wondering if they will, in the future, try to coordinate with WHIO/7’s announced May 3rd target date…

Our original item is below…

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OK, unless we see an official note on a TV station’s website, or get direct, official confirmation from a station, we’re going to stop covering the potential for changes in stations’ requests to shut off analog signals early on Tuesday.

OMW reader Rich Emery, who’s been keeping an eye on the situation in Dayton for us, sends us an item just posted to Cox CBS affiliate WHIO/7’s website.

And as Rich notes, to quote legendary “Saturday Night Live” character Emily Litella, “nevermind!”:

WHIO-TV is re-filing with the Federal Communications Commission to change the date of Channel 7’s analog cutoff to May 3rd, 2009.

With just four days remaining until the scheduled February 17th shutdown, up to 30,000 Miami Valley homes still appeared to be unprepared for the conversion to digital TV. Thousands of those viewers have applied for the government’s converter box coupons, but the program ran out of money in January. New funding for the program is planned, but has yet to be passed by Congress.

Why May, in particular? Quoting again:

Channel 7 is currently broadcasting its digital signal on a backup antenna. In order to broadcast a clear digital signal to the entire viewing area, the station’s analog antenna must be removed and a new permanent digital antenna put in its place at the top of our transmission tower. This work was scheduled to begin in March. WHIO-TV has worked to re-schedule this work until the first week in May.

We’re not even going to speculate on this stuff anymore.

Reasonably-held assumptions have consistently been blown apart by the quick, intense decisionmaking forced upon WHIO-TV and other stations after the new digital transition date and new rules became a reality.

At this point, we’re about to just tell people to turn on their analog TV sets next Tuesday night, and see if anyone signs off…

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