than 150 class A and low-power TV stations petition the FCC to allow
station upgrades that will provide spectrum permanence and access to
The Coalition for Local Television and more than 150 community
television stations from around the country today called on the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) to move forward with a plan to preserve
community and minority broadcast voices in the wake of the digital
The petition urges the FCC to invite public comment on a proposal that
would allow Class A TV stations an opportunity to apply to convert to
full power TV status, which would give these stations full permanent
spectrum rights and access to cable distribution. The proposal would
also provide a new opportunity for qualified Low Power TV stations to
apply for Class A status.
The over 150 community stations on the petition broadcast a
wide range of important programming, including religious, community,
government access, Spanish language, African American, Korean, South
Asian, local news, sports, children's and educational programming, and
critical weather and emergency advisories.
The petition is available online at http://www.coalitionforlocaltv.ning.com in the Media Center.
Congress created low power television stations (LPTV) in 1982
to give minority and community voices an opportunity to be heard in the
broadcast medium. These stations broadcast on otherwise unoccupied
channels, but are secondary spectrum users, which means they can lose
their channels to full power TV stations. In the 1992 Cable Act, only a
few LPTV stations in very small rural communities were given cable
carriage rights. In 1999, Congress recognized the important service
provided by many LPTV stations and created a new "Class A" category,
with permanent spectrum status but no additional cable rights.
Because Class A and Low Power stations are not making the
jump to digital in 2009, and most are not on cable, many are in danger
of losing the ability to reach the audiences they serve. A proposal
supported by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin would address this problem by
allowing Class A stations to apply for full-power status, and, as such,
qualify for "must-carry" rights on cable television systems.
"Our stations provide a critical voice to communities and
populations that are simply not represented or served by mainstream
cable networks," said Mayela C. Rosales - EVP, Azteca America SWFL
D'Latinos. "We applaud Chairman Martin for his leadership on this
critical issue, and urge the Commission to act now in order to preserve
this vital programming for the Americans who need it most."
It is predicted that when the DTV transition occurs in
February 2009, some 2.3 million Hispanic households and 2.1 million
African American households will lose one or more of their LPTV and
"Class A" stations because many of these stations are not on cable, and
most of the digital converter boxes being sold for over-the-air viewing
on old TV sets block analog signals from passing through. The plan
proposed by Chairman Martin will not solve this problem outright, but
will help mitigate the loss by ensuring that some qualified stations
have the opportunity to migrate to full power status and thus earn
cable carriage rights, and it will open a new opportunity for LPTV
stations to earn Class A status.
"For more than two decades, Class A and LPTV stations have
broadened the social discourse in this country, meeting the needs of
underserved American communities by addressing the issues that matter
most to them. We must act now, so that the next generation can continue
to enjoy this critical resource," said Randy Nonberg, President of Una
About the Coalition for Local Television: The Coalition for
Local Television is a group comprised of affiliated Class A and LPTV
stations from across the country. http://coalitionforlocaltv.ning.com
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire.