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NCE FMs Get Break on Ch. 6 Protection

Affects ‘minor change’ applications

Non-commercial educational FM applicants are getting a break in regards to protection of analog TV Channel 6. That’s good news for non-coms, which, along with advocates like Jack Mullaney of the Broadcast Maximization Committee, have been pushing the commission to clarify and revamp the Channel 6 protection rules now that the big hump for the DTV transition is over (though we realize that transition itself is not complete for our TV brethren).

The Federal Communications Commission says that, as of Oct. 27, NCE FM applicants will no longer have to demonstrate that their proposed facilities will not interfere with TV Channel 6 stations that have ended analog operations and that have a new DTV channel assignment.

According to a notice released this week, up until the 27th NCE stations will still have to show that they either protect the analog Channel 6 allocation or have unconditional consent for the interference from the Channel 6 licensee.

An NCE FM application filed prior to Oct. 27 that fails to either satisfy protection requirements or include an unconditional consent letter from the “affected” TV Channel 6 station will be dismissed. The agency defines an “affected” TV Channel 6 station as one located at less than certain prescribed distances from an NCE FM station operating on Channels 201–220.

All applications will still be required to protect “affected” digital Channel 6 stations. Such applications will be processed on a case-by-case basis.