But not for a while.
This is from The Miami Herald, October 30
Posted on Wed, Oct. 30, 2002
Picture-perfect: 3 stations to go digital
BY CHRISTINA HOAGchoag@herald.com
WTVJ-NBC 6, WPXM-Channel 35 and WXEL-Channel 42 will finally be able to start transmitting crystal-clear digital pictures next year, following regulators' approval of a settlement in a three-year-old frequency conflict, parties involved in the issue said Tuesday.
The approval by the Federal Communications Commission will also allow NBC 6 and Channel 35 to transmit from the coveted towers in Hallandale Beach, a location that allows ideal broadcast penetration of the South Florida region, said attorney Matt Leibowitz, who brokered the settlement.
''This is a huge deal for us,'' NBC 6 finance director Javier Maynulet said. ``We´re very excited.´´
While most other South Florida stations have been going digital over the past two years, Miramar-based NBC 6, Boynton Beach's WXEL-Channel 42, owned by Barry University, and Paxson Communications' WPXM-Channel 35 of West Palm Beach, had been held up in a conflict over frequencies.
Under federal mandate, all television stations must be transmitting digital signals by 2006. Digital signals deliver an ultra-crisp image on high-definition television sets.
The dispute among the three stations stemmed from NBC 6 and WPXM-Channel 35 applying for the same digital frequency -- 31 -- three years ago.
But when NBC later bought a 30 percent stake in Paxson, one of the terms of the deal was that WPXM would seek another frequency. Paxson's new requested frequency, 27, then conflicted with WXEL's application for Channel 26, Leibowitz said.
Transmitting on two channels next to each other will create signal interference in some areas.
However, in the settlement, the stations compromised. ''Each one is going to accept some interference,'' Leibowitz said.
Paxson Communications spokeswoman Nancy Udell said the company is pleased the issue is resolved. ''We're going to begin construction post-haste,'' she said.
NBC 6 is also planning to build its Hallandale transmission base immediately, with the goal of broadcasting digital by mid-2003, Maynulet said. The investment will be about $2 million for the equipment, he said.
Up until seven years ago, NBC 6 had transmitted from the Hallandale antenna. But as part of a 1995 deal involving NBC and CBS stations in Philadelphia, NBC agreed to swap its South Florida tower with CBS, whose WFOR was then transmitting from Homestead.
The Homestead signal, however, does not allow penetration of northern Broward County, and NBC 6 had to use another frequency, Channel 58, to reach that area.
Maynulet said NBC 6 had reserved the right to return to the Hallandale transmitter in the future.
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