Albany television station WXXA has made a switch in its analog position: The local Fox affiliate will now continue its analog broadcast past Tuesday.
Local station managers, as well as TV executives throughout the country, had planned to shut down analog operations on Feb. 17, the federal deadline for U.S. television stations to convert to digital broadcasts.
The situation changed earlier this month, when Congress voted to extend the deadline to June 12. The concern is that many viewers who have older television sets and have not yet purchased converter boxes will receive no broadcast news or entertainment in an all-digital system.
On Feb. 6, WXXA Vice President and General Manager Bill Sally said his staff had been working for months to be technically prepared for the original deadline. He believed then that viewers were anxious for the digital change. “We’re confident they’re prepared for the transition,” he said.
WXXA local and corporate officials changed their minds late last week.
“As I am sure our viewers can appreciate, this is a very sensitive issue and one we will continue to give our full attention, as well as effort toward a smooth transition,” Sally said in a news release. “In the meantime, we will continue with our analog and digital broadcasts. There obviously will be some confusion out in the marketplace, but I am confident that we will be able to advise the local audience of our new decision. I also believe there will be some relief to those viewers who have been unable to be prepared by [Feb. 17].”
Local station managers who have decided to back the extension say they do not want to risk losing viewers.