Friday, January 27, 2012

DTV subchannels as time-sharing: FCC doesn't buy it

The FCC has denied a creative proposal to get an additional DTV subchannel on cable.

Must-carry rules allow a full-power digital TV station to require local cable systems to carry one of their program streams. The station may select which stream is entitled to carriage. However, if the station broadcasts more than one stream, only one is required to be carried.

(in many cases, stations negotiate with cable to obtain carriage for additional streams. These agreements are business contracts, not enforced by the FCC.)

ION (formerly known as "Pax" and licensee of most TV stations with the combination "PX" in their callsigns) proposed to split their licenses. They proposed to license a second station on each of their channels, and assign that license to a firm called "Urban Television LLC". The existing ION station and the new Urban station on each channel would share time, with ION using the channel part of the day and Urban using it the rest of the day.

This kind of thing has happened in the past. Growing up in Milwaukee, I remember occasionally DXing two stations sharing channel 10 in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State University's station WMSB broadcast educational programs during the day; commercial station WILX-TV broadcast NBC and local programs in the afternoon and at night. A new timesharing situation is likely to develop in Sacramento, California in the next year or two, as two non-commercial licensees were found equally qualified, and both will receive licenses to operate on channel 43 there.

What's different in the ION case is the length of each time slot. In the WMSB/WILX case, WMSB used the channel continuously for several hours; it then signed off for the day, allowing WILX to use it continuously for the rest of the night. In ION's case, each station would operate for a few milliseconds. It would transmit one of ION's video packets, then one of Urban's audio packets, then one of Urban's video packets, then an Urban metadata packet, then an ION metadata packet, etc., etc.....

And to some degree, the FCC has on its own motion proposed doing just this. A station operating above channel 37 would give up its own channel and would share time on the transmitter of some other station operating below 37. Both stations would be entitled to a slot on cable/satellite; each would be individually responsible for what airs on their subchannel.

But in ION's case, the Commission isn't buying it. They labeled the scheme as "...a division of spectrum...", not a division of time -- and denied the license assignment.

DX Test: Ferndale, Washington

PLEASE GIVE THIS INFORMATION WIDEST POSSIBLE DISSEMINATION

DX Test Alert

KRPI Radio, 1550 kHz, Ferndale, WA will conduct a DX Test on Sunday morning, Feb. 26, 2012 from 4:00 to 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The test will consist of voice announcements, Morse code identifications, distinctive music, and audio tones. Chief Engineer David Harris has indicated the station will be using their daytime power and antenna pattern for the test. Reception reports and digital audio recordings may be directed to 1550radio@gmail.com. DXers can receive a KRPI QSL card for correct reception reports by sending their reports along with a self-addressed envelope and return postage to the following address: Mr. David Harris, Chief Engineer, KRPI Radio, P.O. Box 3213, Ferndale, WA 98248. Many thanks to Mr. Harris who is also amateur radio operator AC7OB. (Test arranged by J.D. Stephens and Jim Pogue)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Storms destroy AM station's tower

WKLF-980, Clanton, Alabama lost its tower in Sunday night's storms.

The station shows up as "license canceled" in FCC records, but is widely reported still operating as it appeals some issues with its last renewal.

(I should say, "still operating" until last Sunday!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Permit granted for new station

Star, Idaho: 1020KHz:
Permit granted for new station.
10,000 watts daytime
460 watts nighttime
Directional at night only

43-43-01N/116-34-04W
Star is near Boise.

(Automated Business Services Inc.)

Two more Canadian AMs to go away

- CKMW-1570 Winkler, Manitoba has filed to move to 103.7 FM with 100kw/52m. This is probably to be on the same tower as CJEL-FM 93.5.

- The CBC proposes to move CHFA-680 Edmonton to 90.1 FM.

In theory, what's happening is:
- CHFA's current 3.9kW "embedded relay" CHFA-1-FM on 101.1FM moves to the exiting 100kw
transmitter on 90.1.
- The existing Espace Musique relay on 90.1FM moves to the old CHFA-1-FM transmitter on 101.1.
- CHFA is deleted altogether.
- CHFA-1-FM becomes the originating station for Premiere Chaine in Alberta.

In practice, what's happening is:
- CHFA moves to 90.1 FM.
- The Espace Musique relay bumped from 90.1 moves to 101.1 FM.

Either way, AM 680 goes away.

DX test scheduled in New Mexico

I apologize, I knew about this one but forgot to post it...

Thanks to Saul Chernos:

Reminder - DX Test this weekend! (that's very late tonight and tomorrow night)...

1490 KRSN NM Los Alamos

Scheduled for early Saturday and Sunday mornings, Jan. 21 and 22, each startinmg at midnight MOUNTAIN time (0700 UTC).

Each test is scheduled to run for 10 minutes.

Included are sweep tones, 20 WPM Morse code at 700 Hz, telephone 'offhook' signal, and vocal IDs & announcements provided by Paul
Walker (http://onairdj.com). Thanks, Paul!

Also included is 20 WPM Morse code at 5 kHz, so those of you with the equipment can try to detect the sidebands as CW at 1485 or 1495 kHz.

The transmitter is a Harris DAX-1 at 1000 Watts into a 3-wire folded monopole antenna located at N35° 53'37.6", W106° 17'36.8"

Preferred reception report method is via email to dxtest@krsnam1490.com - please attach an audio clip of what you heard, if possible. At least give a good description.

If you simply must use snail-mail, send your report (and a CD or cassette, if you can) to:

DX Test C/O David Sutton
3801 Arkansas Ave, Ste. E.
Los Alamos, NM, 87544

With thanks to Mike Westfall of Los Alamos, NM, for arranging this.

Saul Chernos
IRCA-NRC DX Test Committee

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FLASH - DX opportunity in the East

WCBS-880 has reportedly announced they would go off the air at midnight Eastern Time, early Friday morning, January 20th, for maintenance.

DXers may also want to check WFAN-660, which shares WCBS's antenna.

One way to help relieve the national debt...

WPLY-960 Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania has been fined $17,000 for two violations of FCC regulations.

I suppose most DXers would feel that failing to keep a public inspection file would be a relatively minor violation. (even if the station admitted they never had a public file in the eleven years it was under control of the current ownership) The FCC establishes a base fine of $10,000 for this violation; and adjusted it upwards to $12,000 because there had been no public file in over eleven years.

The violation DXers would probably find more blatant is the use of an unauthorized power level and antenna system. WPLY is licensed to operate at 1,000 watts daytime, with a four-tower directional antenna. The FCC inspector found the station operating at 250 watts and using only one of the four towers. (resulting in non-directional operation) Strangely, the base fine for operating at an unauthorized power level and antenna is only $4,000. This, too, was adjusted upwards (to $5,000) because the unauthorized technical operation had also continued for eleven years...

As with other FCC actions, the station has the right to appeal the fines. They also have the right to attempt to show inability to pay. This latter action is successful more often than you might think. WPLY is in bankruptcy, so I would not be surprised if they end up paying something much less than $17,000.

DX tests scheduled in Pennsylvania

Thanks to Jim Pogue KH2AR:

PLEASE GIVE THIS INFORMATION WIDEST POSSIBLE DISSEMINATION:



DX Test Alert – WHP Radio, Harrisburg, PA



WHP Radio, 580 kHz, Harrisburg, PA will conduct a DX Test on Monday morning, Feb. 27, 2012 at 12:05, 12:33, 1:05, 1:33, 2:05, 2:33, 3:05, 3:33, 4:05 and 4:33 a.m. Eastern Time for one minute. The test will consist of voice announcements and Morse code identifications. Operations Manager R.J. Harris is also investigating the possibility of using WHP’s daytime antenna pattern during the test periods. More information regarding the DX Test will be provided as it is developed. Reception reports and digital audio recordings may be directed to RJHarris@ClearChannel.com . DXers can receive a WHP QSL card for correct reception reports by sending their reports along with a self-addressed envelope and return postage to the following address: Mr. R.J. Harris, Operations Manager, WHP Radio, 600 Corporate Circle, Harrisburg, PA 17110. Many thanks to Mr. Harris who is also amateur radio operator W3HP. (Test arranged by J.D. Stephens and Jim Pogue)







DX Test Alert – WTKT Radio, Harrisburg, PA



WTKT Radio, 1460 kHz, Harrisburg, PA will conduct a DX Test on Monday morning, Feb. 27, 2012 at 12:15, 12:45, 1:15, 1:45, 2:15, 2:45, 3:15, 3:45, 4:15 and 4:45 a.m. Eastern Time for one minute. The test will consist of voice announcements and Morse code identifications. Operations Manager R.J. Harris is also investigating the possibility of using WKTK’s daytime antenna pattern during the test periods. More information regarding the DX Test will be provided as it is developed. Reception reports and digital audio recordings may be directed to RJHarris@ClearChannel.com . DXers can receive a WKTK QSL for correct reception reports by sending their reports along with a self-addressed envelope and return postage to the following address: Mr. R.J. Harris, Operations Manager, 1460 The Ticket, c/o Clear Channel Communications, 600 Corporate Circle. Harrisburg, PA 17110. Many thanks to Mr. Harris who is also amateur radio operator W3HP. (Test arranged by J.D. Stephens and Jim Pogue)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Application for new AM station dismissed

Longwood, Florida: 890KHz:
Application for new station dismissed.
Applicant was Family Radio, which has been selling commercial-band FM stations recently & is rumored to be in financial trouble.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AM station granted move to new city & frequency

Cathedral City, California: 1200KHz:
KPSF granted move from 1220 Desert Hot Springs
5,000 watts daytime
1,300 watts nighttime
directional, different patterns day & night.
33-50-35N/116-25-39W

KPSF is a construction permit for a new station, not yet on the air.

Applications filed for new AM stations

Southchase, Florida: 1540KHz:
Application filed for new station.
7,000 watts daytime
300 watts nighttime
directional, different patterns day & night
28-23-12N/81-21-54W
George M. Arroyo

Southchase is near Orlando.



Grants Pass, Oregon: 830KHz:
Application filed for new station.
5,000 watts daytime
1,000 watts nighttime
directional at night only
42-26-26N/123-17-35W
Grants Pass Radio Co.

Power increase application in Canada

Ottawa, Ontario: 580KHz:
CFRA requests nighttime power increase from 10kw to 30kw.
Daytime facilities remain unchanged.




The station claims it no longer needs to protect stations CJFX (Antigonish, N.S.), CKPR (Thunder Bay, Ontario), and CHLC. (Baie-Comeau, Quebec) The stations in question have left 580KHz AM in favor of 98.9 FM (CJFX), 91.5 FM (CKPR), and 97.1 FM. (CHLC)

Application for new AM station dismissed

Melba, Idaho: 1100KHz:
Application for new station dismissed.
(Kermit T. Stop Partnership)

Monday, January 09, 2012

AM call changes

The following stations have changed callsigns recently:


Haleyville, Alabama 1230 WWWH from WJBB
Tucson, Arizona 1450 KTZR from KWFM
White Hall, Arkansas 1190 KJJI for new station; believed to be testing..
Eureka, California 790 KEJY from KWSW
Eureka, California 980 KWSW from KINS
Hiawassee, Georgia 1230 WJUL from WNGM
Hilo, Hawaii 1450 KMCA for new station
Decatur, Indiana 1540 WJZI from WADM
Sanford, Maine 1220 WWSF from WPHX
Baltimore, Maryland 860 WFSI from WBGR
Morningside, Maryland 1580 WNEW from WHFS
Isleta, New Mexico 1510 KOAZ from KMYN
Columbus, Ohio 820 WVSG from WOSU
Mount Angel, Oregon 1130 KQRR from KPWX
Columbia, S. Carolina 560 WXBT from WVOC
Newport, Tenn. 1060 WNPC from WGGQ
Huntington, W.Va. 1200 WEMM from WNBL
Hurricane, W.Va. 1110 WMUX from WIHY
Stevens Point, Wis. 1010 WPCN from WSPT
Village of Superior, Wis. 1560 WIVS for new station

AM station moved to new city

Memphis, Tennessee: KOTC-830:
KOTC has moved from Kennett, Missouri.
New facility is 3,000 watts daytime-only, from the existing tower of WLOK-1340 at 35-07-01N/90-00-59W.

Local reports suggest the station only operated long enough to prove proper operation of the transmitter. Speculation is it may relay an existing FM station in northern Mississippi, allowing that station to install an FM translator covering Memphis. A translator owned by the station it relays may not extend the coverage of that station.

AM station deleted

Burnet, Texas: 1340KHz:
KRHC deleted, license surrendered for cancellation.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Broadcast stations: growth & not...

The FCC released their quarterly Broadcast Station Totals report today.

Full-power radio has grown in the last quarter. There are three more AM stations than there were in September -- I count six stations new to the air; apparently three old stations were deleted. The new ones:

KTFI-1340 Wendell, Idaho
KGGS-1340 Garden City, Kansas
WGUY-1230 Veazie, Maine
KKXA-1520 Snohomish, Washington
WLUX-1450 Dunbar, West Virginia
KKMP-1440 Garapan, Saipan

Twelve more commercial FM stations came on the air in the last quarter. The real growth has been in non-commercial FM, with 72 new stations, 2% growth in a single quarter.


Totals were unchanged in three of the four full-power TV categories. A new commercial VHF station (KSQA-12 Topeka, Kansas) came on the air, for the only change here.


The FCC has been "clearing out deadwood", deleting expired low-power stations in both TV and radio. In radio, fourteen FM translators and ten LPFMs have been deleted. In TV, eleven Class A stations; 62 TV translators; and 21 LPTVs have been deleted. There aren't many VHF Class A's, so the deletion of three such stations represented a more than 4% decline in this class of station.

Overall, the total number of licensed broadcast stations declined by 30 in the last quarter, leaving 30,411 stations on the air.

FCC to no longer automatically approve city-of-license changes

KTIA-FM's application to move from Boone, Iowa to Johnson has been put on hold pending clarification from the applicant.

For the FCC to approve a city-of-license change, the applicant must show that the public interest is better served by the new location. This is usually shown by selecting a new city that doesn't already have stations. The FCC feels it's more important for each community to have at least one station, than for any given community to have more than one.

Where the new community is in a metropolitan area, the applicant must show that the new community is independent of the central city of the metropolitan area.

Boone is not in any metropolitan area. Johnson is 13 miles from Des Moines and is part of the Des Moines metropolitan area. KTIA argued that Johnson is independent of Des Moines -- but the FCC isn't buying it. Maybe the most telling statistic is one KTIA itself submitted - showing that 21.4% of Johnson residents work in Johnson. The FCC noted that, by inference, more than 78% work in other parts of the Des Moines metropolitan area... They also note that if KTIA's move is approved, it will cover 78% of the metropolitan area.

Basically, the FCC regards the proposal as a proposal to move KTIA to Des Moines, not to Johnson. Since Des Moines already has plenty of stations, the FCC does not regard the move as creating a preferential arrangement of allotments.

They have not yet rejected the proposal outright. They've given KTIA 30 days to come up with some other grounds on which the application might be granted.

Don't hold your breath.

It might be noted LPFM station KFMG-LP had also filed an objection against the proposed move. KFMG is on the adjacent channel (99.1 vs. 99.3) to KTIA, and would be forced off the air (or at least to a new channel) if the KTIA move were approved. The Commission said they will not rule on KFMG's objection at this time. (they may consider it if KTIA succeeds in showing the move would create a preferential arrangement)