Post-transition DTV service may commence any time of day on June 12 – coordination, but not FCC pre-approval, required

As the June 12 DTV transition date screams down toward us, the Commission has, yet again, changed some of the ground rules – but this time, it has done so in a way which may make life easier for transitioning stations. Back in March, the FCC had directed that stations could not crank up their post-transition DTV operations prior to 11:59:59 p.m. (local time) on June 12 without prior Commission approval. (On the other hand, stations were permitted to turn off their analogs anytime they chose, as long as they gave the Commission advance notice of the time.)

With a mere 10 days to go before Transition Day, the Commission has released an Order removing the requirement that prior approval be obtained for commencement of post-transition DTV operation prior to 11:59:59 p.m. on June 12. Anytime on June 12 will be OK with the Commission.

Of course, stations commencing post-transition operation on June 12 should be sure to file their license application (FCC Form 302-DTV), or at least a letter notifying the FCC of commencement of program test operation. And care should be taken to coordinate any pre-June 13 DTV operation with other stations which might be adversely affected by that early transition. If you can’t successfully coordinate, you can’t hit the switch on your post-transition facilities before 11:59:59 p.m. (local time) on June 12.