Two More Stations End Analog Transmissions

In the last two weeks, the FCC allowed two additional television stations to shut off their analog transmitters and operate as a digital-only station. In both cases, the stations' analog channels were located above Channel 60.

Christian Television Network Inc., licensee of analog station WGNM-TV, which was operating on Channel 64 and digital TV station WGNM-DT on Channel 45 in Macon, Ga. received permission to operate as a digital only station on Channel 45. The station met the FCC criteria for shutting off its DTV channel. In its request, CTN said it would demand that cable operators carry the WGNM digital signal in analog format on cable. CTN will provide the cable operators with the equipment necessary to convert the digital signal to analog.

Paxson Hawaii License Inc. station KPXO, which has been transmitting analog video on Channel 66 and digitally on Channel 41, was allowed to shut down its analog transmitter. Paxson said the station was forced to cease transmitting on Channel 66 after the October 2006 earthquake "short-circuited the analog station's RF power amplifier modules."

Parts are no longer available for the aging NTSC transmitter and the State of Hawaii will not permit the transmitter expansion necessary to replace the transmitter on Wiliwilinui Ridge. Other restrictions on the site make transmitter replacement difficult, if not impossible. Land use regulations and terrain issues made it unlikely that Paxson would receive permission to construct a replacement analog transmitter site before the Feb. 17, 2009 shutdown of analog broadcasting.

The FCC agreed, stating, "while Paxson has not met all the factors necessary to come within the rebuttable presumption, we believe the public interest would be served by permitting Paxson to surrender its license for NTSC Channel 66 and operate digital-only operations on DTV Channel 41."

For additional information, see the FCC letter to Christian Television Network Inc. and the letter to Paxson Hawaii License Inc.