Some of you may remember a few years ago when the FCC was just about to confer must-carry status on Class A television stations when it abruptly pulled the plug. Not only did the Class A service just miss getting to the mountaintop, now the FCC is frequently asking Class As to justify their existence, period. The latest is KXKL-CA Austin TX.
CASA of Austin L.P. is being asked to justify the stations continued existence as a Class A, and if it cannot “show cause,” the FCC is suggesting that it should be degraded to LPTV status.
The steady stream of FCC announcements along these lines suggest that it is doing what it can to clear out spectrum where it can, and it is a fact that Class A stations enjoy more regulatory protection than do LPTVs. The FCC has been targeting what one attorney labeled as “low-hanging fruit” – Class As with one form of regulatory trouble or another, and has been seeking to lower their status.
KXKL-CA is in the group that has had difficulty staying on the air over the last few years. It says financial difficulties have forced lengthy periods of darkness on the station. The FCC listed the station’s record of going on and off air, totaled it up and found that it have been active for only four of the last 52 months.
That flies in the face of the requirement that Class A stations be on air at least 18 hours daily. So CASA is now forced to show cause why it should be allowed to retain the stations Class A status.