CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein appears to have softened his stand on the conversion of over-the-air television stations to digital. Last June, the regulatory chief insisted “there will be no more analog television broadcasting after August 31, 2011”. With a few exceptions permitted for northern and remote areas where analog interference will not be a problem, the CRTC chair said nobody will be getting a licence to broadcast in analog after the cut-off date. However, yesterday he suggested to the House of Common's Heritage committee that the commission would consider the industry’s preferred approach, which would see stations in medium and large markets upgraded to digital transmitters, while BDUs would provide access to all local television stations in smaller markets. “We are prepared to take the necessary regulatory steps to implement a hybrid system and to support local broadcasters. Among other things, we will need to revise our definition of a conventional broadcaster to ensure that local stations quality for mandatory carriage even if they do not broadcast their signals over-the-air,” he told MPs. A working group of broadcasters and BDUs is currently studying the issue. They are expected to present the CRTC with a report by April 27, before the licence renewal hearings begin for private conventional TV stations.