On Wednesday, January 30, 2008, the FCC’s Third Periodic Review was published in the Federal Register.  With that, the white flag has come down and the TV industry has entered the gun lap in the DTV transition.

The Federal Register publication also marks the effectiveness of the new interference standard of 0.5% and the permissible use of Longley-Rice and cell sizes of 0.5, 1, or 2 km.  More importantly, as a result of the Federal Register publication, a number of deadlines have now been established.

The most crucial dates are as follows:

ALL full-service TV stations – including licensees and permittees, commercials and noncommercials alike – will have to prepare and submit a Status Report (FCC Form 387) to the Commission no later than February 19, 2008. The new Form 387 may be reviewed at the FCC’s website. It will also be available through each station’s CDBS account.

Stations which are already operating on their final DTV channel but which still need a CP to enable them to build out to their Appendix B facilities must file for such a CP by March 17, 2008.

All other full-service TV stations which still need a construction permit in order to build out to their Appendix B facilities can and should file for such a permit as soon as possible.  The FCC has indicated that Form 301 (for commercial stations) and Form 340 (for NCE’s) applications filed by such DTV stations by March 17, 2008 will be given expedited consideration and may be granted as quickly as within 10 days of filing.

Any station which is already operating on its final DTV channel and has at least a construction permit for its Appendix B facilities must complete construction by May 18, 2008.  If any such station will not be able to meet that deadline, it must file an extension application (FCC Form 337) no later than March 19, 2008.

Compliance with the new Program System and Information Protocol (PSIP) rules kicks in on May 29, 2008.

Stations which are not currently operating on their final DTV channels and which need permits authorizing construction of their Appendix B facilities must file applications for such permits no later than June 19, 2008.

If you are a full-service TV licensee or permittee, you should familiarize yourself with the upcoming schedule and confer with your communications counsel and consulting engineers to assure that you meet all necessary deadlines.