Local TV’s Fox WJW in Cleveland used to live on Channel 31, but it moved to Channel 8 during the DTV transition. Unfortunately, not all of the station’s over-the-air viewers were able to follow it there, particularly to the southeast of the transmitter, and it has asked the FCC to allow it to go back to Channel 31.
In making the request, the company said, “Viewers throughout the service area have complained about reception difficulties, and, consistent with viewer ratings, many of these complaints come from areas southeast of the Station’s transmitter.” Meanwhile, there have been no reported problems at all for the UHF channels in the Cleveland market.
Local TV, which operates the station under licensee name Community Television of Ohio License LLC, said that it is requesting Channel 31 because it still holds much of the equipment it used before to transmit at that dial location.
The FCC said it believes the request has merit and is putting it out for comment. The move would require an amendment to the Post-Transition Table of DTV Allotments, which comes under the heading of a rule-making. There is a 90-day window for mutually exclusive proposals. There will also be a comment period once notice of the proposal makes it into the Federal Register.
An earlier snag – interference with Class A WRAP-CA Cleveland on Channel 32, was averted when the licensee of that station requested a downgrade to low-power status and thereby surrendered its right to protection from interference.
RBR-TVBR observation: This is another interesting aspect of the potential television repacking project – it is being proposed before all of the issues raised by the 2009 DTV transition have been resolved.
While technical questions remain unanswered and wireless companies sit on unused spectrum, politicians are treating the issue as one of revenue generation, not sound spectrum policy. Add all of this together, and it is not cause for optimism.