DTV channel election advances

The FCC last week advanced the process used to assign television broadcasters to their permanent in-core DTV channel and create a Final DTV Table of Allotments.

On June 8, the Media Bureau released an order approving 25 Negotiated Channel Arrangements (NCAs) and rejected 12 others. An NCA lets stations within a market enter into an agreement to elect channels other than their own, provided that every station potentially affected by the move is in agreement.

Working to meet a timeline established last summer by commission order, more than 1700 television broadcasters filed their channel preference for final DTV operations by February. Of those stations, 1628 chose to use their existing NTSC or digital channel. Fifty chose to forego the first round in the channel election process. Sixty-two stations participated in 37 NCAs filed with the FCC. Stations that are approved will receive tentative channel designations for the channels contained in the agreements; the stations participating in the rejected NCAs reverted to their alternate channel elections and were considered during general Round One conflict analysis.

Last week, the commission also sent about 155 letters to stations that elected their NTSC channel for digital operation but an FCC engineering analysis indicated that it would result in impermissible interference. The stations have 60 days to inform the FCC how they will resolve the interference conflict.

The commission will complete Round One later this summer and commence Round Two elections in the fall.

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