— Western Pacific Broadcast is working out its must-carry
differences with Blue Ridge Cable, according to a filing with regulators. Western,
owner of WACP-TV, the VHF TV station established in Atlantic City, N.J.,
following the digital transition, filed a carriage complaint against Blue
Ridge, which responded by asking the Federal Communications Commission to
modify WACP’s market so it wouldn’t have to carry the station in 10
Blue Ridge claimed WACP “failed to provide a signal of good quality to the
systems as required by the commission’s rules. Therefore… the petition should
be denied because the station is not eligible for must-carry status on the
A TV station must deliver a signal of at least -61 dBm to the principal headend
of a cable system to qualify for must-carry. The records indicate that Blue
Ridge was unable to adequately decode WACP’s signal at two headends serving the
“For Lehighton, they could not pick up the signal at all,” Blue Ridge’s Joe
Lorah wrote in an email to station representatives last October.
Subsequent tests conducted last December indicated WACP’s signal was -72.35 dBm
at the Ephrata, Penn., headend; and -75.35 at the Lehighton, Penn., headend. Blue
Ridge filed its request
for market modification in early January. Western Pacific has now filed two
requests with the FCC to extend its period of consideration on the original
must-carry complaint while it hammers out the signal-strength issue with Blue
Ridge. In the second, posted on Monday, Western asks to extend the proceeding
to July 10, 2013.
“The parties have been in settlement discussions and are close to concluding a
settlement that would terminate this proceeding,” the filing said. “The
termination of this proceeding through settlement would preserve scarce staff
resources without harming the public.”
Western said Blue Ridge was apprised of its request and would not oppose it.
WACP was constructed on one of two full-power TV station licenses issued
following the 2009 digital transition, which left two states without a VHF
broadcasters—contrary to federal law. Western, a division of Tampa, Fla.,-based
Richland Towers, bought the license for WACP, now an indie on Ch. 4, for $3.8
million. The same group paid $20,000 for a license on Ch. 5 in Seaford, Del.