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Ferree: Radio’s Digital Transition Could Be A Snap

Ferree: Radio's Digital Transition Could Be A Snap

FCC Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree predicts radio’s digital transition will go much more smoothly than TV’s transition to digital. Ferree told RW Online, “We’ve learned a lot from the TV transition.” He said the agency would be able to take what it’s gleaned from TV and apply that knowledge to radio.
Ferree addressed members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers at the member’s annual convention in Washington about the DTV transition, saying it’s “reached a watershed.”
In 2000, the median price of a digital TV was around $2,000 and a DVD was below $200, according to CEA. Now, the median price of a digital TV set is around $1,500 and there are more than 1,200 DTV stations on the air.
He credited FCC Chairman Michael Powell for turning around the digital transition, which he said was in a “crisis” just two years ago.
Thursday, the FCC acted on 3rd-extension requests from TV stations needing more time to make the transition. The 104 stations that were granted a third extension demonstrated that their request was warranted and showed progress on construction of their facilities since the grant of their last extension. Seven stations failed to adequately justify another extension and the FCC admonished these stations and gave them six months to complete construction of their DTV facilities or face financial sanctions.
Ferree predicted “significant” DTV household penetration in the next two to five years.