Freeze Sought on LPTV and Translator Applications

GAITHERSBURG, MD.: The Broadcast Maximization Committee requested an “emergency freeze” on filings for operation of low-power DTV transmitters, including translators, on Channels 5 and 6.

BMC, comprising consulting engineers and other broadcasting industry representatives, was formed to promote the use of that part of the spectrum (76-88 MHz) for low-power FM stations, non-commercial and AM broadcasters in the post-DTV transition environment. The group is concerned that the FCC’s June 29 Public Notice on filing LPTV and translator applications could jeopardize the its proposal for expanding of the FM band.

The BMC’s Aug. 5 letter noted that the FCC is still requiring non-commercial educational FM stations, which operate at the lower end of the current 88-108 MHz FM band, to protect Channel 6 television operations “until further notice.” The BMC termed this “disparate treatment,” as new LPTV and translator applicants were not required to provide such protection.

The BMC letter further stated that it was “likely that new digital television stations on Channel 6 could cause interference to existing FM stations” due to the FCC’s DTV emission mask requiring that signals only be attenuated by 47 dB within 500 kHz of a TV transmitter’s band edge.

The group also noted that in the post-DTV transition television world, “the spectrum for Channel 6 is widely available across the country” and that “it is expected that many [television] applicants will be submitting applications for this channel in the hope that they can operate the audio in an analog mode for some period of time.”

The BMC urged the commission to rule on the legality of such “Franken-FM” broadcasting activities, but they weren’t covered in the freeze request.

The BMC’s request called for a halt to filings for Channel 5 and 6 TV applications beginning Aug. 25, and continuing until the FCC makes a decision on the use of this spectrum for FM broadcasting. – from TV Technology