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Boise Station Gets Power Boost

Add KTVB Boise, Idaho, to the list of VHF stations that have gotten permission from the FCC for six-month power boosts after losing some viewers in the digital switch due to the different propagation characteristics of the DTV signal.

That brings the total to four, according to an FCC spokesperson.

The stations joins WPVI Philadelphia, WSVN Miami and KWCH Wichita.

WLS Chicago got permission for a two-week power boost, while WBAL Baltimore got permission to test some new equipment before deciding whether it will have to invest in it, said the spokesman.

There are another 10 stations that have applied for power increases, but a sampling does not follow the pattern of big markets with skyscraper issues. The 10 include stations in Butte and Missoula, Montana; Bristol, Va; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Not all stations are looking to boost power to fix their reception problems. A handful have asked to go back to the UHF band.

But sources say the FCC is concerned that stations will apply for the move not because of VHF reception problems but because UHF is more suitable for mobile digital TV (DTV) transmissions, which broadcasters are launching to get a piece of the growing mobile video market.

The FCC is also wary of power-boost requests, wanting to make sure the issue is really VHF problems and not just a desire to capitlize on an opportunity to leverage the DTV transition into a power increase.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.