The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a pair of reports on Dec. 23 that detail the changes in viewer coverage that will occur when broadcasters turn off their analog transmitters.
The reports, presented as a pair of digital books on the commission’s Web site, provide detailed maps comparing the analog and digital coverage patterns of all full-power broadcasters authorized for DTV service.
One report is devoted to maps for full-power digital television stations that will have “significant changes” in their coverage. Among the stations in the more than 140 markets where the report predicts significant changes are WBPX-TV in Boston, MA, with gains in coverage area (i.e. no viewer losing analog service and 1.1 million gaining digital service); KTAQ-TV in Greenville, TX, with major gains and losses in coverage area (i.e. 93,000 losing analog service and 4 million gaining digital service for a net gain of 3.9 million); and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles with major losses in Ventura, northern Los Angeles and west San Bernardino (i.e. 1.74 million losing analog service and 128,000 gaining digital service for a net loss of 1.6 million).
In a statement released with the report, FCC chairman Kevin Martin called on broadcasters to use information in the maps to notify viewers about how they will be affected with the switchover to DTV service.
“These changes in coverage are the result of decision extending back more than 10 years,” Martin said. “In most cases, changes in coverage are due to choices made by broadcasters.”
The comprehensive report detailing all 1749 full-power TV stations shows the majority of stations will see a significant increase in the population that can receive their signals. That report found about 89 percent of stations (1,553 stations) will experience an overall net gain in covered population. About 11 percent, or 196 stations, will have a net loss in television viewers. The comprehensive report includes a separate map showing the predicted coverage areas for every station and shows the areas of gain or loss.
The report focusing on significant changes contains maps and other information for the 319 stations where more than 2 percent of the population covered by their analog service will not be covered by their digital service. The losses are overstated because these totals include people who currently receive TV via cable or satellite.
In all circumstances, the community of license remains covered, and it is predominantly viewers living outside the actual community of license who lose coverage.