18 November 2010

Channel 6=the only existing American analog TV channel

My dad bought a new flatscreen TV today and was tuning channels. Channel 6 displayed a fuzzy analogue picture displaying "need guidance?" and the logo of Christian contemporary music radio station K-Love.

The blog Radio Survivor reports: "Channel 6 'radio' stations could be silent by 2012":

Currently the FCC is accepting comments on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the low-power television service [PDF]. Unlike full-power TV, LPTV is still analog. Now the FCC is considering a timeline for closing that gap.

The fact that LPTV is still analog is why some stations on channel 6 have been able effectively to operate like radio stations, due to the fact that their audio program sits just left of the FM broadcast dial, receivable at 87.7 FM. It’s a little corner of radio broadcasting I’ve been covering for over a year now.

As I predicted back in March, the FCC is now set to close this loophole by requiring LPTV stations to go digital, which would make their audio channels inaccessible to FM radios. The only question is when this will happen. The Commission has suggested that the transition might be completed sometime in 2012–so, in less than 2 years. However, it is also seeking comment on how realistic it will be for stations to meet that timeframe. At the same time the Commission notes that a 2012 deadline would be three years after the full-power transition. The Commission argues that LPTV stations should be well aware that a digital transition was imminent, and also points out that Congress created a special fund to assist low-power stations convert to digital.

Interesting. I remember tuning into channel 6 in the past...despite the fact that no channel 6 TV station exists in the San Francisco Bay Area...and seeing/hearing only static with legible audio cutting in and out. Only recently did I learn that TV channel 6 equaled 87.7 FM. When I visited San Diego in 2004 for a piano convention, I could hear XETV channel 6 (then a Fox station; now a CW station since 2008) on 87.7. (The call letter begins with X as the station is based in nearby

Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico.)The K-Love website lists 3 FM frequencies that reach the city of San Jose: 91.9, KBKF-LP 87.7, and KLVS 107.3. Radio-locator identifies 91.9 as K220BV with a transmitter in the remote southern hills of Los Gatos right next to Alamaden Air Force Station. Googling KBKF led me to this page suggesting that KBKF is transmitting from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Google Maps found a transmitter at this address:
Ben Lomond, CA 95005

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