FCC Conditionally Grants Carriage Complaint Filed Against Dish

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From Jerry Springer to second-run episodes of Dateline and the syndicated game show Family Feud in prime-time, a full-power TV station licensed to Sterling, Colo., that uses a Class A low-power facility in Denver as a rebroadcast partner has striven to make a name for itself as “K3.”


Now, “K3” is a step closer to getting Dish Network from adding its main feed and digital multicast channels to the local lineup.


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The licensee of KCDO-3 in Sterling and KSBS-CD 10 in Denver, Channel 3 TV Company LLC, filed a must carry complaint against Dish, on the grounds that the direct broadcast satellite company refused to accept KCDO’s signal delivery by digital translator on its satellite system.

Naturally, DISH filed an opposition to the complaint.

With a tower to the northeast of central Denver in Fort Morgan, Colo., KCDO emits a signal that has been delivered to DISH’s designated local-receive-facility (LRF) by a leased closed circuit fiber line (fiber line) since 2006, pursuant to mandatory carriage elections.

On July 30, 2019, Channel 3 sent Dish an email to notify it of an upcoming change in
KCDO-TV’s signal delivery method — from a fiber line to over-the-air (OTA) delivery — to DISH’s LRF. Channel 3 requested that Dish conduct testing to determine whether it can receive KCDO-TV’s OTA signal at its LRF from either “a LPTV signal of Virtual Channel 3.1 that will be found on RF Channel 19.1 as transmitted” from KSBS’s transmitter atop Lookout Mountain, to the west of Denver, or a full-power signal of virtual Channel 3.1 that will be found on RF Channel 23.1 as transmitted from the KCDO transmitter. Channel 3 also requested that DISH provide it with any “findings and documentation, screen grabs or other evidence once testing is concluded.”

On July 31, 2019, Dish balked by replying to Channel 3’s e-mail stating that it is not able to
receive KCDO-TV’s signal from RF Channel 23 because Dish does not carry LPTV stations pursuant to the must carry regulations.

Channel 3’s lawyer then got involved, and a series of back-and-forth communication failed to resolve the matter. Subsequently, KCDO-TV filed its Complaint with the Commission on April 2, 2020, alleging that Dish’s refusal to accept KCDO-TV’s signal delivery by digital translator violates the Commission’s must carry rules.

The Commission agrees. As noted by Steven Broeckaert, Senior Deputy Chief of the Media Bureau’s Policy Division, “Channel 3 is permitted to deliver its full power commercial station, KCDO-TV, to DISH’s LRF using KSBS-CD, finding that use of an LPTV translator
is an acceptable alternate method of delivering a good quality signal to DISH for purposes of exercising must carry rights.”

He continued, “Although DISH attempts to frame Channel 3’s Complaint as an attempt to gain LPTV carriage rights for KSBS-CD, we disagree. The pertinent issue is whether Channel 3 is permitted to exercise its must carry rights for full power station KCDO-TV
by employing an LPTV translator as an alternate means to deliver a good quality signal to DISH’s LRF.”

Broeckaert also rejected Dish’s assertion that Channel 3’s complaint was not filed in a timely manner.

However, it is a conditional grant of the complaint. He concludes, “As a preliminary matter, we agree with Channel 3 that the Communications Act and its implementing rules do not expressly prohibit delivery of a full power broadcast signal through use of a LPTV translator. Thus, we look to Commission precedent on this issue.”

In doing so, Broeckaert made his determination.

Dish now has 60 days upon KCDO’s delivery of “a good quality signal” via KSBS-CD to add the channels associated with the facility to the Denver DMA lineup.

“K3 Colorado” has on its digital multicast channels the Grit, LightTV, JTV Jewelry Television and this TV networks.