Friday, April 27, 2012

DTV channel sharing: the first step

The FCC has released the first set of rules for DTV channel sharing. As you may remember, this concept is similar to that of DTV subchannels. Indeed, from a technical standpoint, it's identical to the concept of subchannels – the only difference is that the two (or more) subchannels are licensed to and operated by different owners.

Channel sharing is voluntary.

No station will be required to split its channel. Stations must decide who they want to share with, the FCC will not assign sharing partners.

At this time, only stations participating in the incentive auction will be eligible for channel sharing. An incentive auction has been proposed that will allow stations to sell their spectrum for wireless use.

In the initial plan, if someone buys a station's spectrum, that station goes off the air. With channel sharing, that station can "move in" with another station that agreed to auction spectrum as well. Each station gets half the auction proceeds – and gets to stay in business.

Each sharing station is licensed separately.

Each station will hold a separate license and callsign. Each station is independently responsible for compliance with FCC programming regulations.

For example, assume WXXX and WYYY share a channel. WYYY decides not to keep a public file. WYYY will be sanctioned with a large fine – WXXX will not be sanctioned.

Each sharing station is entitled to the same must-carry rights on cable & satellite as they'd have if they had their own transmitter.

I have a couple of questions the FCC release doesn't answer...

What happens if there are technical violations involving the shared transmitter?

If one of the partners in a sharing arrangement loses its license (or voluntarily goes out of business) what happens to the other one?

Sharing makes strange bedfellows.

The FCC decided not to allow LPTVs to engage in channel-sharing arrangements. Only full-power and Class A stations may do so.

Strangely enough, they may share with each other. The Commission has not yet decided what to do with the technical rules if this happens. (as the vast majority of full-power stations use far more power than is allowed for a Class A.)

Strangely, they haven't decided what to do if a Class A that hasn't converted to digital yet volunteers to share. (seems to me the sharing process would inherently require the Class A station to go digital...)

Commercial and non-commercial stations may share a channel. The FCC has not yet decided whether to allow them to share a channel that's reserved for non-commercial use. However, it looks to me as if they're inclined to allow it.

The Commission anticipates future situations where a station may wish to change its city of license in order to move in with a sharing partner whose facility cannot serve the station's existing community.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Callsigns changed

The following stations have recently changed callsigns:
Anniston, Alabama      1490 WFZX from WGBZ
Turrell, Arkansas      1180 KXIQ from WPLX
Pueblo, Colorado       1350 KCCY from KDZA
Walsenburg, Colorado   1180 KSPK (new station)
Toccoa, Georgia        1420 WLET from WHTD
Brandon, Mississippi    970 WFQY from WJFN
Ellenville, New York   1370 WJIP from WRWD
Hudson, New York       1230 WHUC from WAIP
Remsen, New York       1480 WRCK from WADR
Rome, New York         1450 WKAL from WRUY
Raleigh, N. Carolina    850 WPTK from WKIX
Moore, Oklahoma         640 KWPN from WWLS
Astoria, Oregon        1230 KVAS from KKEE
Pawtucket, R.I.         550 WSJW from WBZS
Conroe, Texas           880 KJOZ from KJOJ
Uvalde, Texas          1400 KGWU from KVOU
Forks, Washington      1490 KFKB from KRKZ
Oak Harbor, Washington 1110 KRPA from KWDB

New station, new station not happening, and old station gone

Blue Diamond, Nevada: 1020KHz: Application for new station. 5,000 watts daytime 250 watts nighttime Directional, different patterns day & night 36-01-56N/115-22-44W Blue Diamond is a Las Vegas suburb.
Shasta Lake City, California: 1550KHz: Application for new station dismissed.
Eddyville, Kentucky: 900KHz: WWLK deleted. Station had been off the air for over a year.

Friday, April 20, 2012

AM station deleted

Toccoa, Georgia: 1420KHz: WLET license canceled I suspect this is not final, as the station very recently changed call letters. An Alabama FM station was recently off the air for about two weeks after a renewal snafu -- the payment of the license fee on their renewal failed to go through, and the station didn't notice. When the station found out, they promptly:
  • Suspended operation.
  • Refiled the renewal, with the fee processing this time!
  • Requested Special Temporary Authority to resume operation pending processing of the renewal.
  • The FCC has already granted the STA, and the Alabama station is already back on the air. I suspect the same thing happened to WLET.

    Application for new AM station dismissed

    Ottawa, Ontario: 1630KHz: Application for new station dismissed. This was to be an ethnic station, but nearly 99% of the schedule would have been in Arabic. Generally, Canadian ethnic stations are required to serve a variety of ethnic groups. Also, it was felt the station would have a serious negative impact on CJLL-FM, which makes a significant amount of its revenue on Arabic-language programs.

    Recent AM call changes

    AL Anniston   1490    WFZX    from WGBZ
    AR Turrell    1180    KXIQ    from WPLX
    CO Pueblo     1350    KCCY    from KDZA
    CO Walsenburg 1180    KSPK    (new station)
    GA Toccoa     1420    WLET    from WHTD
    MS Brandon     970    WFQY    from WJFN
    NY Ellenville 1370    WJIP    from WRWD
    NY Hudson     1230    WHUC    from WAIP
    NY Remsen     1480    WRCK    from WADR
    NY Rome       1450    WKAL    from WRUY
    NC Raleigh     850    WPTK    from WKIX
    OK Moore       640    KWPN    from WWLS
    OR Astoria    1230    KVAS    from KKEE
    RI Pawtucket   550    WSJW    from WBZS
    TX Conroe      880    KJOZ    from KJOJ
    TX Uvalde     1400    KGWU    from KVOU
    WA Forks      1490    KFKB    from KRKZ
    WA Oak Harbor 1110    KRPA    from KWDB

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Application for new station dismissed

    Eagle, Idaho: 1010KHz:
    Application for new station dismissed.
    The facility would have been mutually-exclusive with the new station granted on the same frequency in Reno, Nevada.

    AM stations deleted

    Calera, Alabama: 1370KHz: WBYE deleted
    Camden, Alabama: 1450KHz: WCOX deleted
    Talladega, Alabama: 1230KHz: WPPT deleted
    Thomasville, Georgia: 840KHz: WHGH deleted
    South Haven, Michigan: 940KHz: WCSY deleted
    Somerville, Tennessee: 1410KHz: WSTN deleted

    WCSY & WSTN were deleted at the request of the licensees.

    Permit granted for new station

    Reno, Nevada: 1010KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    50,000 watts daytime
    2,000 watts nighttime
    2,400 watts critical hours
    three different directional patterns
    Hill & Glover Broadcasting.

    Friday, April 06, 2012

    Application filed for new AM station

    Red Oak, North Carolina: 1190KHz:
    Application filed for new station.
    4,200 watts daytime
    1,000 watts nighttime
    directional at night only
    On The Map Inc.

    AM stations deleted

    Fulton, Kentucky: 1270KHz: WFUL:
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee: 1290KHz: WATO:
    Licenses canceled at request of licensees.

    Permits granted for new stations

    Tyonek, Alaska: 1360KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    20,000 watts non-directional day & night
    Across the bay from Anchorage.

    Keaau, Hawaii: 1260KHz:
    Permit granted for new station.
    5,000 watts daytime; 1,000 watts nighttime; non-directional all hours.
    East of Hilo, south of the airport.