FCC Says WLJC-TV Can Close Off Analog Channel

July 19, 2007
Another station has received permission from the FCC to shut down its analog channel and operate as a digital-only station. Hour of Harvest Inc., licensee of WLJC-TV Channel 65, and WLJC-DT Channel 7, requested FCC permission to cease its UHF analog broadcasting before the end of the transition and operate as a single channel, digital-only TV station on Channel 7.

The FCC agreed the request met the criteria for the voluntary band-clearing mechanisms adopted to clear Channels 59-69. Hour of Harvest noted its analog channel was adjacent to Channel 64, which has been allocated to public safety. WLJC-TV is not one of the top four stations in the Louisville, Ky. DMA or a noncommercial educational station. While the station is the sole station licensed to Beattyville, Ky., it stated that the analog transmitter had been off the air since October 2006 as the result of lightning damage. To mitigate the loss of service to viewers, it negotiated with local cable and satellite providers to secure a discounted rate for new subscribers who enroll in their service plans specifically to resume viewing of WLJC. The station staff “personally delivered digital receivers to the homes of long-time viewers who reported that they could not afford subscription services or the purchase of a digital set.” Hour of Harvest promised to continue these measures if it were granted digital-only authority.

Hour of Harvest said it is a nonprofit organization that relies on financial support from viewers and that broadcasting on both an analog and digital basis presents a significant burden. It said it “will be required to spend tens of thousands of dollars to repair an analog facility that must cease operations at the end of the DTV transition.”

Seventy-two percent of the viewers in the analog signal coverage area will still be able to receive five or more off-air signals. Using Longley-Rice, FCC staff found that much of the area was blocked by terrain and could not receive a viewable signal from WLJC-TV when it was on the air.

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