Small broadcasters favor low-power broadcasting

DTV terrestrial transmissions consume lots of electricity, having significant impact on a broadcaster’s power bill. Smaller stations, hit hardest by the impact of increased electricity usage, often transmit lower-power DTV signals that reach viewers only in their primary coverage area.

The FCC, pressed by a growing mood in Congress to get on with the DTV transition, wants stations to transmit at full power or have their licensed coverage area reduced.

Some small-station owners have petitioned FCC Chairman Michael Powell to abandon a proposal that would force them to increase the power to reach their full coverage area by a date certain or have that area reduced. They contend it is unfair to reduce their coverage area for exercising their right to reduce power during the DTV transition.

The petitioners include Raycom, based in Montgomery, ALA, owner of 39 stations that cover just more than 10 percent of the U.S. television households; Draper Communications, owner of WBOC-TV in Maryland and Delaware; and Arizona State, operator of public station KAET-TV in Phoenix.

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