The FCC is inclined to allow KGW-TV Portland, Ore., to change from a VHF to a UHF, but is seeking input on that inclination. It has given commenters until 25 days after publication of Wednesday’s (Oct. 14) petition for rulemaking in the Federal Register, which usually takes a couple of weeks. There has been a freeze on such changes for almost a decade, dating from when the FCC first started to prepare for the 2016 broadcast incentive auction.
The trade group tells the commission it should revise proposed regulatory fees for VHF stations so that they “more accurately reflect their actual population served.”
Stations can save money on equipment and power bills, but some over-the-air viewers may need to change their antennas.
The owner of Antennas Direct turned a hobby into a $10 million-a-year business supplying TV antennas to the steadily increasing number of consumers who are dropping cable for free over-the-air TV. He’s bullish on OTA and can’t understand why the FCC now wants “to kill it in the crib.”
A critical part of the commission’s push to find more spectrum for wireless broadband is to improve the quality of TV signals in the VHF band that were weakened in the digital transition. Among its suggestions are boosting transmission power and setting reception standards for home antennas. Broadcasters are skeptical of the plan’s viability and are worried that they may be forced to move from the UHF band to VHF, requiring expensive equipment while potentially lessening their coverage and alienating their viewers.