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FCC Denies Texas County TV Station Market Modification

The FCC has denied a request by Tyler County, Texas to modify the satellite markets of five TV stations, but invited it to resubmit the request with better supporting material.  

The stations at issue are KLTV Tyler; KETK-TV Jacksonville; KFXK-TV Longview; KYTX Nacogdoches; and KTVT Fort Worth. 

Market modifications allow the FCC to increase or decrease the size of a market to include new communities and viewers who are then allowed to receive stations in those markets via satellite (or cable in the case of cable market mods) "if the station is shown to have a local relationship to that community based on an analysis of five statutory factors." 

The FCC said the county had not supplied enough supporting evidence, citing its ruling in its La Plata decision that such supporting material is crucial. 

Titus did provide some maps and other material, but the FCC said it was not sufficient, including not providing "any evidence regarding the historic availability of the Stations in the County." 

The FCC denied the Titus petition without prejudice, meaning it is free to collect that evidence and resubmit the request.  

La Plata was the first time the FCC's Media Bureau, under the direction of Congress, extended cable market modifications to satellite and said the FCC could grant requests from public officials--like Titus County--to modify satellite markets. But the bureau had, in the process, waived evidentiary requirements. The full commission upheld that market mod, but said for future requests the penitentiary requirement could not be waived. 

In essence, the FCC told Titus it had not done its homework, but said it could turn it in and still get credit. "We find that the evidence submitted by Titus does not adhere to the evidentiary standards established in the Commission’s rules, and that its requested waivers are not accompanied by evidence of a good faith effort to obtain the missing evidence," the Media Bureau said. "Titus must address these deficiencies in order for the Commission to fully conduct its analysis."