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Fresno’s KMCF-LD Launches ATSC 3.0, Hopes to Add Ch. 6 Franken FM Soon

Low-power TV station promises 4K broadcasts

This story was originally published by our sister publication TV Tech. 

KMCF-LD Channel 6 in Fresno, Calif., has launched NextGen TV on VHF Channel 6 and expects to offer a full-power FM service at 87.7 on the radio dial. Once approved by the FCC, the hybrid service from the Cocola Broadcasting-owned low-power TV station would be among the first in the nation to offer a so-called “Franken FM”—TV stations that offer audio services via the 87.7 MHz audio carrier— enabled by ATSC 3.0.

Fresno-based Cocola said “an early start on securing the equipment and FCC permission” allowed the company to be one of the first in Fresno to launch ATSC 3.0 and added that, unlike its full-power counterparts currently offering ATSC 3.0, it will broadcast in 4K.

“Programming for KMCF will be 4K productions including super high-definition NASA programming,” the company said in a statement. “There is a limited supply of 4K programming available at this time but with the launch of ATSC 3.0 now, Cocola Broadcasting will be able to add new 4K programming as it becomes available.”

The “Franken FM” would broadcast the signal of Fresno’s KJOI—known as “Your All Time Favorites”—through Channel 6. The FM signal doesn’t require special equipment but to watch the video portion of ATSC 3.0 requires a TV, tuner box or DVR designed to broadcast the upgraded signal to take advantage of the audio and video improvements.

Cocola Broadcasting was founded in the early 1980s by broadcasting veteran Gary Cocola who operates 56 channels in Fresno and 18 in Bakersfield. The launch of ATSC 3.0 is the latest example of Cocola Broadcasting embracing the most up-to-date technology to ensure the best digital service for local viewers. When Cocola launched his initial television station in 1985—Channel 59—it was the first TV station in Fresno to broadcast in stereo.

“I have always tried to be on the cutting edge of new technology,” Cocola said.

Lead photo courtesy of the California Restaurant Association.