10.30.2006 09:00 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Stations call for end of UHF discount
Because UHF stations have weaker over-the-air signals than VHF stations, the FCC has traditionally given them a 50 percent “discount” when calculating their national coverage. This means that in setting ownership requirement under current rules, the commission counts half of a UHF station’s reach toward its national cap of 39 percent of TV households.
The Network Affiliate Stations Alliance (NASA) has asked the FCC to end that 50 percent discount on UHF stations before the transition to digital. The reason is that many VHF stations are moving to the UHF band. If the rule remains, the coverage of those stations will suddenly be cut in half.
Conversely, the limits of networks would increase, pushing them over the ownership caps. In this case, NASA thinks networks should be grandfathered in if the discount is eliminated.