Video Division denies petition to reconsider channel move by Wisconsin station

The FCC Media Bureau's Video Division on Sept. 8 denied a petition filed by WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, WI, for reconsideration of an August 2009 Report and Order that changed the allotted channel for WWAZ-TV in Fond du Lac, WI, from channel 44 to channel 5.

In denying the petition for reconsideration, the Video Division cited several reasons, including how the relocation from channel 44 for WWAZ made it possible for WLS-TV in Chicago to relocate to channel 44 and thus improve its DTV coverage.

"At the end of the DTV transition, when all full power television stations ceased analog operations, station WLS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Chicago, and the Commission 'received thousands of calls from persons who received the station's analog and pre-transition digital signals, but [were] unable to view WLS-TV on digital channel 7 due to reception problems,'" the order denying the petition said.

According to the Report and Order, permitting WWAZ to relocate from channel 44 to channel 5 was in the public interest because it made possible the substitution of channel 44 for channel 7 by WLS-TV and thereby would restore reception to thousands of DTV viewers "who have come to rely on WLS-TV for local and ABC network programming."

In opposing the WWAZ channel substitution, WDJT-TV alleged that thousands of WWAZ viewers in "along the western and northwestern edge of the station's licensed analog service area and authorized Appendix B digital service area" would lose service. However, WWAZ proposed installing two translators, one each at Ripon and Columbus, WI, to provide coverage of the affected area. After filing a proposal with a re-engineering of the translators Jan. 7, 2011, that would actually provide service to 99.8 percent of the loss area, the Video Division accepted the proposal, and denied the petition for reconsideration.