FCC Still Clearing Up DTV Reception

The Federal Communications Commission continues to work
through what it characterizes as a "limited number" of over-the-air digital-TV-related
reception issues.

That included proposing to grant relief in to a
network-owned stations in one of the nation's largest markets -- WLS-TV
Chicago, which requested that it move from VHF channel 7 to UHF channel 44. The
ABC-owned station cited continuing reception problems, including the
"urban canyon" effect, in which tall buildings and walls in high-rise
buildings reduce reception.

The FCC concluded in an Aug. 12 notice of proposed
rulemaking that the move is in the public interest and gave commenters a total
of 25 days to weigh in.

The week before, the FCC proposed granting Grey Television's
request that it move KKTV from VHF channel 10 in Colorado
Springs to channel 49 to boost its coverage by about a
million people and eliminate interference it was experiencing.

The FCC continues to work with what it continues to
characterize as a limited number of reception issues in a "mop-up"
operation after the switch to digital on June 12, 2009.

Solutions include moving stations from VHF to UHF channel
positions, boosting power, and in at least one case -- KNMD Santa Fe, moving
from one VHF channel position to another to gain viewers in mostly rural areas.
WLS got FCC permission to boost power,
but that was apparently not sufficient relief.

The FCC's willingness to boost power and move stations
suggest to some tacit acknowledgement that the FCC lowballed the DTV power
limits and is having to play catch-up. A commission spokesperson had no

The agency also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking last
Friday (Aug. 14) on a request by WVUE in New Orleans
for a fix of its digital reception problems.

The FCC has estimated it was working with two or three-dozen
stations on reception issues. That is out of the nearly 1,800 stations that
made the switch to all-digital.


John Eggerton

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.