02.13.2005 08:00 AM
FCC says “no” to early analog signal turnoff

The FCC has denied a request by KJLA-TV, channel 57 in Ventura, CA, to immediately turn off its analog television signal.

Even though the station claims that less than one percent (0.25 percent) of analog viewers receive its signal over the air, the FCC said that in a market the size of Los Angeles that could result in the disenfranchisement of a significant number of people.

In denying the request for the early analog shutdown, FCC Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree said the station had “shown only that the private interests of the station would be served, namely its ability to save money from its analog operation.”

The station wanted to transmit its Spanish language programming only on its digital channel 49 and through carriage by cable and satellite.

The FCC allows stations to voluntarily vacate their analog channels prior to the end of the DTV transition on a case-by-case basis. Three factors are used in considering such requests:

  1. whether grant of the request would make new or expanded wireless services available to consumers;
  2. whether grant would result in the loss of any of the four stations in the DMA with the largest audience share, the loss of sole service licensed to the local community, or the loss of the community’s sole noncommercial educational television service;
  3. and whether grant would have a negative effect on the pace of the DTV transition in that market.

Ferree said the FCC had determined that KJLA had not met the criteria.

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