FCC Grants MPTV Full Time HD Approval

Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) has been granted permission by the FCC to forgo analog/digital simulcasting on WMVT-DT as required by the FCC’s transition plan and broadcast high definition programming full time.

The FCC’s transition plan called for 50% simulcasting as of April 2003, 75% simulcasting as of April 2004, and 100% simulcasting as of April 2005. The waiver will allow WMVT-DT to offer only high definition programming 24/7 from local and national sources when it signs on this month.

MPTV, a service of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, also operates WMVS-DT, which began broadcasting in March 2000. The two digital channels, along with the two original analog channels, will provide Milwaukee residents the ability to choose from eight different MPTV programs at any given time, according to Ellis Bromberg, MPTV’s general manager. Programs include the original analog channels, delayed broadcasts of the analog channels, children’s programming, enrichment and instructional programming, a classic music channel, and the new HD station’s programs.

In its filing, MPTV argued that it was able to simulcast all programming from its two analog stations on two of WMVS-DT’s multicast channels. The FCC found “good cause” to grant the request because it will enable MPTV “to experiment with innovative uses of [WMVT-DT] and to offer additional digital programming to the community.” Both digital channels are available to more than 80,000 viewers subscribing to Time Warner’s digital cable tier as well as those with over-the-air ATSC tuners.