New Low-VHF DTV Stations Causing PSIP Problems

Doug Lung

A number of new low-VHF full-service TV stations have started broadcasting using the same virtual channel as their RF channel. One example is WACP, channel 4, Atlantic City. Another is KVNV, channel 3, in Middletown Township, N.J. When WACP went on the air, viewers with antennas capable of receiving both WACP and WNBC (RF channel 28, virtual channel 4) found that WACP replaced WNBC when their TV sets rescanned. The only way to get WNBC back was to disconnect the antenna for a few moments until the scan passed channel 4.

Meredith Corporation, licensee of WFSB, RF channel 33, virtual channel 3, in Hartford, Conn., noticed there was significant overlap between WFSB's contour and KVNV's contour. Meredith filed a “Petition for Reconsideration and Request for Declaratory Ruling” with the FCC asking for a ruling that KVNV be assigned virtual channel 33. PMCM TV, permittee of KVNV, filed an “Alternative PSIP Proposal”, which proposed that KVNV be assigned a two-part virtual PSIP channel, starting with 3.10. Additional program streams would be identified as 3.11, 3.12, etc. WFSB would retain virtual channels 3.1 through 3.9.

KVNV also has significant overlap with CBS's KYW-TV, virtual channel 3 in Philadelphia.

On Sept. 12, the FCC's Media Bureau released a Public Notice (DA 14-1298) requesting comments on Meredith Corporation's Request for Declaratory Ruling and PMCM TV's “Alternative PSIP Proposal.” Copies of the filings by Meredith and PMCM TV are available using the Search for Filed Comments. Enter “14-150” in the Proceeding Number box. The deadline for comments is October 14, 2014, with reply comments due October 29, 2014.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.