With the end of the incentive auction, any station above RF 36 will be moved to a new slot below RF 36 if they stay on the air. In DFW, these stations are above RF 36:
- The KUVN translator in downtown Ft. Worth
All of the above except 38 and 51 are guaranteed slots if they want to stay on the air, so I'm going to assume all of them except the KUVN translator will do so. But it will be another month or two before we know where the full-power stations are going to wind up, and probably another 3 months after that before we know about the low-power ones. So in the meantime, I've been trying to make some educated guesses:
- KFWD/52 will most likely go off the air, and sell the RF 9 transmitter to another full-power station.
- The Ft. Worth KUVN translator on RF 47 will probably go off the air as well. This was a holdover from the analog era and I don't think it's needed any more. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)
- Low-power K26KC will probably go off the air as well. Its sister station, KHFD/51 will probably move to RF 13. RF 26 is a bad slot for a full-power station because of KTEN in Oklahoma, so the K26KC transmitter will probably get sold to another LPTV station. (KODF would be a logical choice since they're virtual channel 26 anyway. Or it could go to KLEG/44 or KATA/50. But let's hope whoever it is can clean up the horrible K26KC signal!)
- KHPK/28 will probably move to RF 10.
- That would leave four UHF channels (24, 26, 28, and 33) free, but there are 10 protected stations to move. Assuming one of those 10 moves to RF 9 and four move to the free channels, that means five LPTVs in the lower UHF band will be displaced. Along with KVFW/38, that means six LPTVs will move to VHF channels 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, and 12. Everything currently on the air except KFWD and K26KC fits - just barely.
- KNAV/22 will probably be one of the stations displaced, so they'll probably convert to digital at the same time. No sense upgrading equipment twice! I'm guessing they'll wind up on RF 12 because they considered the same move several years ago, so they've already done the engineering study. If so, they'll broadcast with a directional antenna and won't be available in the north metroplex, to avoid interfering with KXII.
Is that what will happen? Probably not - there are numerous interference considerations with adjacent markets I can't account for - but hopefully I won't be too far off. In the end, it looks like most of the full-power stations will remain on UHF channels, we'll still have two full-power stations on VHF-Hi channels, and most of the low-power stations will also wind up on VHF channels. Three LPTV stations will wind up on RF 2-4 along with KXDA/41 on RF 5 and KZFW (the FrankenFM on RF 6), and you'll need a big VHF-Lo-capable antenna to receive them. Of course there's no way to know whether any of the stations we like to watch, like KODF/26, K31GL, or KVFW/38, will be in the VHF-Lo band until it all happens.
This is even more speculative, but I'm thinking KPFW/18 and KWDA/30 will move to VHF-Lo channels RF 2 and RF 4. That's because closely-related license holders already have licenses for RF 2 and 4, but aren't using them as far as I can tell. But I don't know who might wind up on RF 3.
On a personal note, it will probably become impractical for me to receive any out-of-market stations such as KXII or KLTV. I can barely get them as it is, and co-channel interference from local LPTVs would probably push them over the cliff permanently. Oh, well; it was fun while it lasted.