Three more notification have been sent out by the FCC involving a total of seven Class A stations – they are all being given an opportunity to show cause why they should not be downgraded from Class A to LPTV status. All seven have faced challenges staying on the air of late.
The FCC noted that Class A stations enjoy certain license protections not afforded to LPTVs, but with the protection comes more responsibility – the need basically to follow full power rules. Stations must be on air 18 hours daily, three hours worth of programming per week must be locally produced, children’s programming rules and reporting must be adhered to, etc.
James Wilson III’s WJJN-LP Dothan AL has reported of lightening strikes that have knocked it off the air from time to time going back to 2007. The last incident took place 12/31/10, and the station did didn’t make it back on air until almost a year later. The FCC is challenging the Class A status due to its spotty broadcast record.
Southern TV Corporation’s WGSA-CA Savannah GA had its tower sold out from under it. The tower owner informed the station the tower was being dismantled and the land sold to be used for a different purpose in early 2011, and since then it has been off air or broadcasting at reduced power. That has caused it to join the “show cause” list.
Finally, Una Mez Mas has five Class A stations on the bubble. KASC-CA Atascadero, KDFS-CA Santa Maria, KLDF-CA Lompoc, KPAO-CA Paso Robles and KSBO-CA San Luis Obispo. The stations have been going on and off the air, in one case all the way back to 2006. The license company said that “unfavorable economic conditions and prospects” caused them to take the stations dark, and now that has led the FCC to ask why they should retain their Class A status.
RBR-TVBR observation: With the very real, congressionally-approved possibility of incentive auctions looming, the fact that the FCC is aggressively examining Class A licenses with an eye to downgrading their status should give pause to existing LPTV licensees, especially in heavily-populated areas.