All posts by Gary Stigall

FCC Opens Settlement Window for LPTV Displacement Applications

The FCC announced on October 30th a displacement application filing window for low power TV (LPTV), TV translators, and digital replacement translator stations displaced by the incentive auction and repacking process. Three San Diego TV broadcasters made mutually exclusive applications and are caught up in the fight for channel 25. KSDY (ICN, channel 50) and KDTF-LD (Entravision, channel 51), both now operating from Mt. San Miguel, are seeking to operate on channel 25 after repacking. KHAX-LP (Entravision, channel 49, Vista) is also listed, but Entravision can resolve that application by stipulating it could accept interference from its own transmissions in its isolated coverage area. KHAX-LP was granted a Special Temporary Authority (“STA”) in late October to operate on channel 21, which its Mexican sister station XHDTV Tecate is expected to move to from channel 47. Both XHDTV and KHAX in the past operated on channel 49.FCC Logo

Upper UHF stations in San Diego have received letters from T-Mobile stating they may begin operations on the upper UHF channels at the end of November 2018. Not only do the LPTV’s have to resolve the MX claim, but in many cases they must file STA applications for operation on a temporary channel, then must order and install the equipment before the end of November or go off the air.

Mutually exclusive applications can be settled a number of ways. One station could file for operation on another channel. The stations could agree to share a single physical channel. Or one station could pay the other’s legal and engineering expenses and have that station go off the air. Stations are not allowed to sell for a speculated value exceeding accrued costs.

The MX settlement window opened October 30 and will close January 10, 2019. If stations can’t resolve their mutually exclusive applications through a technical settlement, the FCC will force an auction for the channel.

FCC Asks for Comments on FM Translator Auction

The FCC wants feedback on its announced procedures on Auction 100 that affects two San Diego area broadcasters. At issue locally are the mutually exclusive applications from AM broadcasters KURS (El Sembrador Ministries, 1040 kHz, San Diego) and KECR (Family Radio, 910 kHz, El Cajon), who each want to operate FM translators on 100.1 MHz. The FCC has set opening bids at $35,000.

The FCC expects bidding to open in 2019. Initial comments are due by November 15.

KRSP-LP FM Asks to Cancel License

La Maestra Family Clinic Secretary John Kuek sent a letter to the FCC in October asking that their license for KRSP-LP 101.1 MHz in El Cajon be canceled and the callsign deleted. Curiously, an engineer from northern California showed up in town the day before the station’s CP was to expire and said he installed a temporary broadcast to qualify for a License to Cover. That documentation was filed, but the licensee said separately they no longer had a desire to broadcast.

Low power FM stations often underestimate the monetary and labor obligations to set-up a radio station and lose interest once reality hits.

Christyahna CP for 93.7 Translator on Miguel

On October 2, 2018, the FCC granted a Construction Permit for Christyahna Broadcasting to build a 4 W FM translator station on 93.7 MHz at Mt. San Miguel with its city of license Lemon Grove but a service pattern aimed northeast toward El Cajon.

This summer they were granted an accompanying CP for a 500 watt AM radio station on 1400 kHz with a curiously located daytime transmitter at the old KSDO transmitter site and nighttime transmitter at a house in Lemon Grove.

According to Wikipedia, Christyahna principal Gerry Turro was past Chief Engineer at WNEW New York, then the operator of the famous “Jukebox Radio” network WJUX in northern New Jersey. The FCC eventually broke up the network of low power FM stations in 2003 after it was accused by competitors of improperly extending its coverage with translators outside its primary coverage area using fiber links to the various transmitters. Turro helped build KRLY-LP in Alpine, California, but left the station in 2005 and the station license was transferred.

September 19 Meeting: Digital Watermarking

You missed a great presentation if you weren’t with us for this meeting. Niels Thorwirth of Verimatrix gave an overview of content identification, recognition and marking technologies used as a data carrier or forensic tool with a deep dive into one implementation of digital watermarking. Niels described watermarking in a simple but meaningful way. 

Many thanks to iHeartMedia for providing the space.

About Niels

Niels Thorwirth is the VP of Advanced Technology at Verimatrix, Inc. and is responsible for Innovation and Research in areas such as digital watermarking, IoT Security and Machine Learning. Since April 2005 Niels Thorwirth is spearheading content security innovation efforts to meet and exceed requirements of content owners and digital TV operators, resulting in among others the Verimatrix VideoMark® and StreamMark® forensic video watermarking technologies.

Prior experience includes research activity at the Fraunhofer Society and guiding the technology development at MediaSec, Inc. in Providence, RI, and Essen, Germany, from the company’s inception to its acquisition. Mr. Thorwirth has published several international papers and obtained various patents in the field of digital rights management and digital watermarking. He holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science and Business Management from the University of Mannheim, Germany and the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.