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The FCC has announced today the results of the 'Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction', where TV station owners could elect to receive large sums of cash in order to give up their licenses. The spectrum currently utilized by channels 38 thru 51 is going to wireless phone companies, and most of the TV stations remaining on the air will move to different channel numbers. Communication services which cost money for Americans to receive, is more important to our government than free broadcasting.

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-314A2.pdf

Chicago area TV stations going away:

Channel 20 WYCC (PBS)
Channel 35 WWTO-TV LaSalle (TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network)
Channel 41 WOCH-CD (Charge!)
Channel 44 WSNS-TV (Telemundo)
Channel 50 WPWR-TV Gary/Chicago (The CW / my network TV)
Channel 60 WXFT-DT Aurora/Chicago (UniMas)


I suspect Channel 44 programming will merge with co-owned Channel 5 WMAQ-TV. Channel 50 programming will merge with co-owned Channel 32 WFLD. And Channel 60 programming has already merged with co-owned Channel 66 WGBO-DT Joliet.

I noticed the compensation amount for City Of Chicago-owned Channel 20 is much less than the other stations, so there could be a mistake somewhere. Perhaps Channel 20 is moving to VHF?

Several Milwaukee stations are going off the air, as well as Rockford's CBS affiliate: Channel 23 WIFR Freeport.



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Responses (9)
  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 13 2017, 07:05 PM - #permalink
    Not exactly. None of these stations are going away. They are just getting money for making a few changes. They will be selling their spectrum, but the stations themselves have all filed forms to move to new locations (unused spectrum, digital sub-channels, etc.). They will then make it so they will continue to be seen on the same stations on the public's TVs that they have always been seen on.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 13 2017, 07:46 PM - #permalink
    The licenses are getting turned in, and the stations are going off the air. As I mentioned, the primary programming in some cases is not going away. They will be channel sharing with sister stations. I heard they can continue to use their original call letters, and historical analog channel numbers.

    But likely there will not be enough bandwidth to accomodate the sub-channels which are currently airing on stations which are signing off. Also, sub-channels of stations which were not sold may get removed in order to make room for the new occupants.

    WYCC does not have a sister station, so I wonder what Channel 20 intends to do? Chicago area already has 2 other PBS stations: 11 WTTW and 56 WYIN Gary (available on cable in the entire metro area, and over-the-air on the southside and south suburbs). Is WYCC gone for good?

    Low power WOCH-CD is owned by a spectrum speculator (NRJ Holdlings). They just want the money, and don't care if the programming lands anywhere else.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 13 2017, 07:55 PM - #permalink
    All six of the stations in the auction have Post Auction Channel Sharing Agreements set up. None are going away.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 13 2017, 08:26 PM - #permalink
    Maybe they could keep some of the above channels and instead get rid of time wasters i.e. WRJK 22.1-22.8, WJYS 62.1- 62.4 and WOCK 13.1- 13.5.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, April 13 2017, 09:51 PM - #permalink
    I'm going with Larz on this one. It would be highly doubtful they will leave our airwaves.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 14 2017, 08:26 AM - #permalink
    I think there needs to be a distinction here. Channel sharing is different than an outright FCC transmission license.

    The FCC's release is explicitly clear. Except for WWTO moving to a VHF slot, all the aforementioned stations will be turning in their respective RF transmission licenses. The station...or their programming...will likely live on using another station's transmission plant (channel sharing) to send their programming "stream. But they will no longer possess a unique RF transmission license to emit their own RF signal. ATSC 3.0 makes that viable.

    Yes, WSNS will likely become a "sub" of WMAQ's.
    WPWR will likely become a sub of WFLD
    WFXT will likely become a sub of WGBO

    What amazes me is the fact Fox is turning in a license they paid Fred Eychaner $425 million 12 or so year ago...and has barely earned a dime on it since..

    And that WYCC is taking such a paltry sum when the first appraisal had it north of $400M.

    And that WWTO is getting north of $340M just to move to VHF whereas all the Chicago's are getting less than 1/3 that to outright go off..

    In any event, the 39 month shot clock is getting ready to start....

    RR
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 14 2017, 10:41 AM - #permalink
    The concept of a "licensed TV station" will vanish. The spectrum will essentially be IP-over-the-air so instead of a TV station using a band it will be an ISP using a band. In theory there will more (licensed) ISP's to choose from - but your "tuner" will likely be tuned to one frequency; whatever content you want will probably be available over any frequency, but somehow I expect some kind of exclusivity deals to emerge anyway.

    The bigger question will be just how much of this two-way data will be collected by people you don't want collecting it.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 14 2017, 11:46 PM - #permalink
    WFXT will likely become a sub of WGBO


    Presently WGBO-DT is a sub of WXFT-DT, both running 1080i HD on Channel 60, in addition to WGBO-DT running in HD on it's own Channel 66. All they have to do is transfer the 'dual HD' equipment from 60 to 66.

    And that WWTO is getting north of $340M just to move to VHF whereas all the Chicago's are getting less than 1/3 that to outright go off..


    WWTO-TV is not moving to VHF High. The station is going off the air completely. I think you mis-read the chart. WWTO-TV currently transmits on VHF High Channel 10, but displays it's former analog Channel 35.

    WWTO-TV is licensed to LaSalle, IL and uses a tower half way between LaSalle and Ottawa, IL. The TV station is around the same distance away from Chicago as Rockford, Milwaukee, and South Bend. For some reason, this station was assigned to the Chicago DMA (Designated Market Area). Many years ago, this station started as a satellite of a Peoria TV station. WWTO-TV probably belongs in the Peoria DMA.

    WPWR will likely become a sub of WFLD


    Fox has 11 duoplies nationwide. Only 3 of those are getting broken up, and Chicago is one of them. Seems odd that Fox wanted to kill off a TV station the company owns in a big city like Chicago, but they are keeping duopolies together in smaller markets.



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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, April 16 2017, 12:32 PM - #permalink
    You may find a surprise with ABC-TV taking on one ( or two ) of those stations as a sub-channel(s).

    I saw it in a dream :)
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