Originally Posted by veedon
The bigger question is whether the renamed KVNV will be allowed to keep channel 3 as its virtual channel number even though a portion of KVNV's coverage area overlaps the coverage area of WFSB (RF 33, virtual channel 3) in Connecticut. WFSB has some sort of special status that allows part of what would be KVNV's area to be considered part of WFSB's market area. I'm not sure how the regulations work.
It would be great if KVNV could revive interest in OTA reception, even on VHF-Lo, but getting a good channel position on the cable systems must be even more important to the station's prospects.
This is a VERY significant issue. First, this may ultimately delay the sign-on of KVNV. Second, the ramifications of not being permitted to identify as channel 3 would likely be devastating to PMCM TV because their station's value, inclusive of its monetary value, could be significantly and irreparably harmed. Also, the decision rendered by the FCC could be precedent setting, and I sense that any decision will be appealed by the losing party.
The antagonist here is Meredith Corporation, based in Des Moines, Iowa, and licensee of WFSB Hartford, channel 33, in the state of Connecticut.
According to documents filed with the FCC, here is what happened: Meredith filed an informal objection to the modification application objecting to PMCM’s future operations on virtual channel 3 because WFSB(TV) had been assigned that channel since 2004. Meredith argued that because the two stations’ noise limited contours have significant overlap, both stations cannot operate on the same virtual channel. Meredith further argued that, under the PSIP Standard adopted by the Commission, KVNV(TV) should be assigned virtual channel 33, which is WFSB(TV)’s RF channel. On April 17, 2014, the Video Division granted PMCM’s application and dismissed Meredith’s informal objection as premature, stating that a station’s virtual channel designation is customarily considered after grant of the license modification application in a separate proceeding that solely addresses the virtual channel designation. Meredith filed a timely Petition for Reconsideration and Request for Declaratory Ruling on May 22, 2014, again asserting that KVNV(TV) should be assigned virtual channel 33, which PMCM opposes. Briefing on this matter closed on July 11, 2014, and a decision has not yet been issued.
The areas major cable operators (Cablevision, Comcast, and Time Warner) took notice of this dispute, then they followed suit by requesting the FCC to grant a waiver of Section 76.64(f)(4) which specifically allows the MVPD’s to defer carriage of KVNV until 90 days from the date there is a final decision on the station’s virtual channel. The FCC has granted this waiver.
Presently, the matter is before the FCC which will have to decide whether PMCM TV can legally identify their channel number as channel 3. The decision will affect both the station's on-air signal and MVPD carriage position. Therefore, the station and its potential viewers will likely be held hostage, so to speak, until this matter is resolved.
Meredith's arguments stem, in part, from the fact that their WFSB operates in the Hartford-New Haven DMA. An FCC market modification, however, added Fairfield County, Connecticut into that local market, and Fairfield County is in the New York DMA.
What Meredith conveniently omits from any of their filings is that their channel 33 signal provides no reliable coverage in KVNV's COL of Middletown Township, NJ., and anywhere else in New Jersey for that matter. They also ignore the fact that WFSB is not carried on most, if any, MVPD systems in New Jersey and New York City.
The disputed territory in this matter should be isolated to only those specific areas in which WFSB's signal provides reliable coverage and/or is carried over channel 3 on that area's MVPD systems. This would essentially reduce the disputed areas to those in and around southern Connecticut, and perhaps isolated portions of Long Island, New York.
Instead, Meredith insists on strong-arm tactics and exerting its will upon a television station and its audience, most, if not, all of whom are not connected in any way to WFSB nor have access to its programming.
And despite established FCC policy, there is this. Meredith essentially gave up their rights to channel 3 when they elected to remain on pre-transition RF channel 33. Conversely, PMCM TV is entering the market on RF channel 3 and intends to accurately represent as a channel 3 operation. PMCM TV has also presented solid arguments in support of their position, specifically "that 'given the unique circumstances of KVNV’s transition to New Jersey' it would thwart the Court’s mandate to change its PSIP channel", and, "that its right to mandatory carriage of KVNV(TV) on channel 3 'is so well settled as to require no elaboration here.'"
To reiterate, by taking up this issue, the FCC has essentially taken a punitive stance against PMCM TV and the entire New York DMA. The decision is both excessive, overbearing, and unfair. This matter should be isolated only to those areas where there is truly a conflict. In those isolated instances, surely a compromise could be reached and perhaps PMCM TV could accept a few southern Connecticut MVPDs assigning their station an alternate channel, and Meredith would be unharmed in any way. Meredith's self-serving proposal would pose significant harm to PMCM TV, and must ultimately be rejected as expeditiously as possible in no uncertain terms of a rulemaking.