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Migrating the existing AM stations to former TV channels 5 and 6

LBA Technology AM antenna systems, RF
shielding, and test equipment

This is one of the possibilities that has been bantered about as a solution for the “AM problem.” The theory goes as such; former TV channels 5 and 6 (76 – 88 MHz), which are not suitable for DTV would be an ideal place for the existing AM stations to move.  That represents a 12 MHz chunk of spectrum, which is much more than the current 1.16 MHz spectrum the current AM broadcasting service takes up (.54 to 1.7 Mhz).  An added benefit is that the VHF spectrum does not have the skywave “problem” that the MF spectrum does, thus many more stations could be licensed to the service.  Everyone would benefit, AM stations would get a new lease on life in the FM band.  The number of stations would increase by several fold, including LPFM, non-commercial and translators.  AM stations would no longer be burdened with expensive directional arrays or sub standard audio quality.

It seems almost too good to be true…

The FCC reportedly promised “take a hard look” at this idea back in 2008.  Four years later, one wonders what has become of it.

A quick search of the existing TV stations licensed to channel 5 and 6 reveals the flaw in this theory.  The FCC has re-licensed many full powered and Low Powered DTV stations to channel 5 and 6 since 2008.

List of full power channel 5 stations:

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
WOI-DT DT LIC AMES IA 8661 13.9 566 CAPITAL COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, INC.
WGVK DT LIC KALAMAZOO MI 24783 10 169 GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
WBKP DT LIC CALUMET MI 76001 6.4 301 LAKE SUPERIOR COMMUNITY BROADCASTING CORPORATION
KXLF-TV DT LIC BUTTE MT 35959 10 588 KXLF COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KXGN-TV DT LIC GLENDIVE MT 24287 1 152.4 GLENDIVE BROADCASTING CORP.
KHAS-TV DT LIC HASTINGS NE 48003 45 217 HOAK MEDIA OF NEBRASKA LICENSE, LLC
WLMB DT LIC TOLEDO OH 17076 10 155 DOMINION BROADCASTING, INC.
KOBI DT LIC MEDFORD OR 8260 6.35 823 CALIFORNIA OREGON BROADCASTING, INC.
KIVV-TV DT LIC LEAD SD 34348 9.2 561 KEVN, INC.
WTVF DT LIC NASHVILLE TN 36504 22 425 NEWSCHANNEL 5 NETWORK, LLC
WMC-TV DT LIC MEMPHIS TN 19184 34.5 308 WMC LICENSE SUBSIDIARY, LLC
KCWX DT LIC FREDERICKSBURG TX 24316 23.7 412 CORRIDOR TELEVISION, L.L.P.
WCYB-TV DT LIC BRISTOL VA 2455 29.9 743 BLUESTONE LICENSE HOLDINGS INC.
WDTV DT LIC WESTON WV 70592 10 240 WITHERS BROADCASTING COMPANY OF WEST VIRGINIA
WIWN DT LIC FOND DU LAC WI 60571 9 338 WWAZ LICENSE, LLC

List of Low Power Channel 5 stations (analog):

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
KSCT-LP TX LIC SITKA AK 15348 0.049 0 DAN ETULAIN
K05KF TX LIC DILLINGHAM AK 792 0.16 0 ALASKA CORP OF SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST
KRDN-LP TX LIC REDDING CA 127179 0.6 0 KM COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
W05CO TX LIC SARASOTA FL 66995 3 0 THREE ANGELS BROADCASTING NETWORK, INC.
W05CJ TX LIC KEY WEST FL 125642 0.59 0 JAMES J. CHLADEK
DKHHB-LP TX LIC HILO HI 126233 3 0 KHHB, LLC
WIKY-LP TX LIC EVANSVILLE, ETC. IN 61036 0.14 0 ROBERTS BROADCASTING COMPANY OF EVANSVILLE, IN, LLC
K05IV TX LIC PARK RAPIDS MN 55374 0.019 0 RED RIVER BROADCAST CO., LLC
W05BV TX LIC STARKVILLE MS 21634 0.066 0 FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
K05LU TX LIC JEFFERSON CITY MO 128520 0.11 0 HISPANIC CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY NETWORK, INC.
K05LY TX LIC MOBERLY MO 128560 0.1 0 HISPANIC CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY NETWORK, INC.
KSXC-LP TX LIC SOUTH SIOUX CITY NE 128012 3 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
K05KY TX LIC LINCOLN CITY OR 129190 2.25 0 MICHAEL MATTSON
K05KX TX LIC TILLAMOOK OR 129194 0.65 0 MICHAEL MATTSON
KRCW-LP TX LIC PORTLAND OR 35151 2.7 0 TRIBUNE BROADCAST HOLDINGS, INC., DEBTOR-IN-POSSESSION
K05LE TX LIC ASTORIA OR 129161 2.5 0 MICHAEL MATTSON
KJIB-LP TX LIC CLEAR LAKE CITY TX 21184 0.103 0 FAR EASTERN TELECASTERS
KLUF-LP TX LIC LUFKIN TX 28937 0.094 0 INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING NETWORK
K05EF TX LIC BRADY, ETC. TX 10043 0.068 0 FOSTER CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, INC.
KTXF-LP TX LIC ABILENE TX 130840 0.665 0 KM COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

List of Low Power Channel 5 stations (digital)

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
K05FW-D LD LIC GIRDWOOD AK 796 0.061 0 ALASKA PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC.
K05ET-D LD LIC LIKELY CA 8240 0.25 0 CALIFORNIA OREGON BROADCASTING, INC.
K05CR-D LD LIC HAYFORK CA 68112 0.007 0 TRINITY COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
K05CF-D LD LIC WEAVERVILLE CA 71381 0.015 0 WEAVERVILLE TRANSLATOR CO., INC.
K05FR-D LD LIC CROWLEY LAKE CA 43512 0.06 0 MONO COUNTY SERVICE AREA NO. 1
K05DQ-D LD LIC BURNEY, ETC. CA 8314 0.045 0 BLUESTONE LICENSE HOLDINGS INC.
K05LI-D LD LIC WEBER CANYON CO 130882 0.0023 0 SOUTHWEST COLORADO TV TRANSLATOR ASSOCIATION
K05GA-D LD LIC DOLORES CO 61470 0.0052 0 SOUTHWEST COLORADO TV TRANSLATOR ASSOCIATION
K05JW-D LD LIC ISMAY CANYON CO 61449 0.0024 0 SOUTHWEST COLORADO TV TRANSLATOR ASSOCIATION
K05MD-D LD LIC CRIPPLE CREEK, ETC. CO 167809 1.5 0 TUCK PROPERTIES, INC. C/O LEE PELTZMAN
WRUF-LD LD LIC GAINESVILLE FL 4200 0.3 0 BOARD OF TRUSTEES, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
K05GL-D LD LIC COOLIN ID 53516 0.013 0 PRIEST LAKE TRANSLATOR DISTRICT
K05EY-D LD LIC TERRACE LAKES ID 23150 0.065 0 GARDEN VALLEY TRANSLATOR DISTRICT
K05BE-D LD LIC LEHMI, ETC ID 58708 0.013 0 SALMON TV TRANSLATOR DISTRICT
W05DD-D LD LIC ST. FRANCIS ME 39652 0.097 0 MAINE PUBLIC BROADCASTING CORPORATION
K05GM-D LD LIC PLAINS-PARADISE MT 52780 0.017 0 PLAINS-PARADISE TV DISTRICT
K05AH-D LD LIC HOT SPRINGS MT 27685 0.005 0 HOT SPRINGS TV DISTRICT
K05ML-D LD LIC SULA MT 181578 0.006 0 SULA TV DISTRICT
K05IZ-D LD LIC HINSDALE MT 27259 0.0034 0 HINSDALE TV CLUB
K05MW-D LD LIC FERNDALE MT 182548 0.024 0 SWAN HILL TV DIST
K05FC-D LD LIC LAKE MCDONALD MT 16754 0.005 0 CANYON TV
K05KK-D LD LIC POPLAR MT 53012 0.037 0 POPLAR TV DISTRICT
K05JU-D LD LIC ELKO NV 19401 0.1 0 ELKO TELEVISION DISTRICT
K05AF-D LD LIC MINA/LUNING NV 42702 0.07 0 MINERAL TELEVISION DISTRICT #1
W05AR-D LD LIC BRYSON CITY, ETC. NC 53896 0.089 0 WYFF HEARST TELEVISION INC.
WTVF LD LIC NASHVILLE TN 36504 3 0 NEWSCHANNEL 5 NETWORK, LLC
K05AR-D LD LIC ROCKVILLE UT 70962 0.031 0 BONNEVILLE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
W05AW-D LD LIC CHRISTIANSTED VI 70286 0.3 0 VIRGIN ISLANDS PUBLIC TV SYSTEM
W05AA-D LD LIC ROANOKE VA 73989 0.097 0 WSET, INCORPORATED
K05MU-D LD LIC LEAVENWORTH WA 187540 0.01 0 LEAVENWORTH NON-PROFIT TV ASSOCIATION
KCEM-LD LD LIC CHELAN BUTTE WA 64455 0.003 0 APPLE VALLEY TV ASSOCIATION, INC

List of full power Channel 6 stations:

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
WUOA DT LIC TUSCALOOSA AL 77496 26 395 THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AlABAMA
WEDY DT LIC NEW HAVEN CT 13595 0.4 88 CONNECTICUT PUBLIC BROADCASTING, INC.
WCES-TV DT LIC WRENS GA 23937 7.9 429.4 GEORGIA PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
WABW-TV DT LIC PELHAM GA 23917 10.5 378.9 GEORGIA PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
KBSD-DT DT LIC ENSIGN KS 66414 31 216.8 SUNFLOWER BROADCASTING, INC.
KTVM-TV DT LIC BUTTE MT 18066 19.2 591.3 BLUESTONE LICENSE HOLDINGS INC.
KWNB-TV DT LIC HAYES CENTER NE 21162 11.9 221 PAPPAS TELECASTING OF CENTRAL NEBRASKA, L.P.
WRGB DT LIC SCHENECTADY NY 73942 30.2 392 WRGB LICENSEE, LLC
WPVI-TV DT LIC PHILADELPHIA PA 8616 34 330 ABC, INC.

List of  Low Power Channel 6 stations (analog):

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
K06LG TX LIC CHUATHBALUK AK 62827 0.052 0 STATE OF ALASKA
K06LP TX LIC CIRCLE HOT SPRINGS AK 62529 0.548 0 STATE OF ALASKA
KNIK-LP TX LIC ANCHORAGE AK 21492 0.92 0 FIREWEED COMMUNICATIONS LLC
K06MF TX LIC KENAI, ETC. AK 21490 1.44 0 FIREWEED COMMUNICATIONS LLC
W06BH TX LIC PHENIX CITY, ETC. AL 25207 0.06 0 GREENE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KNJO-LP TX LIC HOLBROOK AZ 131162 0.475 0 KM COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KVFA-LP TX LIC YUMA AZ 131144 0.05 0 KM COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
K06MU TX LIC BIG BEAR LAKE CA 63149 1 0 BEAR VALLEY BROADCASTING, INC.
KNNN-LP TX LIC REDDING CA 129249 1.5 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
KLOA-LP TX LIC INYOKERN, ETC. CA 28583 3 0 ROBERT D. ADELMAN
KCIO-LP TX LIC VICTORVILLE CA 11529 0.99 0 OBIDIA PORRAS
KRPE-LP TX LIC BANNING CA 129651 0.999 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
KUHD-LP TX LIC VENTURA CA 67963 0.999 0 OBIDIA PORRAS
KBKF-LP TX LIC SAN JOSE CA 127882 0.6 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
KEFM-LP TX LIC SACRAMENTO CA 127996 3 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
KXDP-LP TX LIC DENVER CO 67552 3 0 SYNCOM MEDIA GROUP, INC.
WHDY-LP TX LIC PANAMA CITY FL 130063 1 0 CONFESORA PERALTA
WEYS-LP TX LIC MIAMI FL 6035 3 0 ALMAVISION HISPANIC NETWORK
WDDA-LP TX LIC DALTON GA 131127 2.5 0 WORD OF GOD FELLOWSHIP, INC.
KESU-LP TX LIC HANAMAULU HI 131005 3 0 CHANG BROADCASTING HAWAII, LLC
WKQX-LP TX LIC CHICAGO IL 128239 3 0 WLFM, LLC
W06BD TX LIC PRINCETON IN 49243 0.014 0 NORTH GIBSON SCHOOL CORPORATION
WDCO-LP TX LIC SALISBURY MD 130439 1 0 SIGNAL ABOVE LLC
WJMF-LP TX LIC JACKSON MS 26253 2 0 KID’S TELEVISION, LLC
KGHD-LP TX LIC LAS VEGAS NV 130027 3 0 OBIDIA PORRAS
WMYH-LP TX LIC ELMIRA NY 125819 0.25 0 VISION COMMUNICATIONS, LLC
WXXW-LP TX LIC BINGHAMTON NY 129224 0.016 0 JOHNSON BROADCASTING COMPANY, INC.
WNYZ-LP TX LIC NEW YORK NY 56043 3 0 ISLAND BROADCASTING LLC
WMBO-LP TX LIC WESTVALE NY 14319 0.3 0 METRO TV, INC.
WNNY-LP TX LIC AUBURN NY 41364 1.45 0 RENARD COMMUNICATIONS CORP.
WMTO-LP TX LIC WANCHESE NC 127802 0.6 0 RAY H. LIVESAY
WLFM-LP TX LIC CLEVELAND OH 6699 3 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
K06NI TX LIC THE DALLES OR 129153 0.25 0 MICHAEL MATTSON
WRTN-LP TX LIC ALEXANDRIA TN 125858 2 0 RICHARD C & LISA A. GOETZ
WPGF-LP TX LIC MEMPHIS TN 23848 3 0 GEORGE S. FLINN, JR.
KRGT-LP TX LIC RIO GRANDE CITY TX 57999 0.04 0 CTV BROADCASTING, LLC
KFMP-LP TX LIC LUBBOCK TX 129734 3 0 VENTURE TECHNOLOGIES GROUP, LLC
KXIT-LP TX LIC AMARILLO TX 130089 3 0 GEORGE CHAMBERS
KBFW-LP TX LIC ARLINGTON TX 127887 3 0 GERALD BENAVIDES
KZFW-LP TX LIC DALLAS TX 5316 3 0 DFW BROADCASTING, INC.
K06PB TX LIC UVALDE TX 67303 0.99 0 SUPER RADIO, INC.
WDCN-LP TX LIC FAIRFAX VA 20450 3 0 SIGNAL ABOVE LLC
K06OA TX LIC EAU CLAIRE WI 129139 0.9 0 MARCIA T. TURNER D/B/A TURNER ENTERPRISES

List of Low Power Channel 6 stations  (digital):

Call Sign Service Status City State Fac ID ERP (kw) HAAT (m) Licensee
K06OR-D LD LIC SEWARD AK 168866 0.3 0 SEWARD MEDIA PARTNERS, LLC
K06AE-D LD LIC PRESCOTT AZ 35274 0.5 0 MULTIMEDIA HOLDINGS CORPORATION
K06HN-D LD LIC GUNNISON CO 25611 0.06 0 GUNNISON COUNTY METROPOLITAN RECREATION DISCRICT
K06HU-D LD LIC ASPEN CO 56704 0.006 0 PITKIN COUNTY TRANSLATOR DEPARTMENT
K06GW-D LD LIC NEW CASTLE CO 23159 0.005 0 ROCKY MOUNTAIN PUBLIC BROADCASTING NETWORK, INC
K06NT-D LD LIC DOLORES CO 130881 0.0052 0 SOUTHWEST COLORADO TV TRANSLATOR ASSOCIATION
K06NG-D LD LIC SARGENTS CO 126929 0.05 0 GUNNISON COUNTY METROPOLITAN RECREATION DISCRICT
W06AY-D LD LIC LEBANON KY 70498 0.3 0 GARY WHITE
K06FE-D LD LIC MILES CITY MT 35726 0.1 0 MMM LICENSE II LLC
K06AA-D LD LIC BROADUS MT 53167 0.088 0 POWDER RIVER T.V. BOARD
K06AV-D LD LIC WOLF POINT MT 73376 0.019 0 WOLF POINT TV DISTRICT
K06NV-D LD LIC WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS MT 21710 0.06 0 MEAGHER COUNTY TELEVISION DISTRICT
K06JC-D LD LIC CHADRON NE 47977 0.066 0 NEBRASKA EDUCATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
K06KR-D LD LIC CRAWFORD NE 47991 0.028 0 NEBRASKA EDUCATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
K06PG-D LD LIC LAUGHLIN NV 11687 0.3 0 CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
K06KQ-D LD LIC MANHATTAN NV 14126 0.02 0 COUNTY OF NYE
K06MK-D LD LIC ELKO NV 19380 0.1 0 ELKO TELEVISION DISTRICT
K06HT-D LD LIC ELY NV 59129 0.053 0 WHITE PINE TELEVISION DISTRICT # 1
K06NY-D LD LIC RYNDON NV 128750 0.062 0 ELKO TELEVISION DISTRICT
W06AJ-D LD LIC FRANKLIN, ETC. NC 53884 0.193 0 WYFF HEARST TELEVISION INC.
K06NS-D LD LIC CHILOQUIN OR 8268 0.193 0 CALIFORNIA OREGON BROADCASTING, INC.
K06PM-D LD LIC BEAUMONT TX 128836 0.3 0 ROGER MILLS
K06JA-D LD LIC CEDAR CANYON UT 9712 0.015 0 CEDAR CANYON TV

Looking through this data, particularly the digital licenses which were granted since 2009, one an only assume that the FCC has, by de facto, nixed this idea if it ever considered it at all.

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8 comments to Migrating the existing AM stations to former TV channels 5 and 6

  • George Arroyo

    When the F.C.C. wanted to implement digital T.V. it forced everyone to move. I counted about 143 T.V. stations in your list of existing channel 5 & 6 stations. So what you are telling me is that 4,754 A.M. stations must die so 143 T.V. stations survive?. How many jobs will go down with that?. How about splitting all of those extra T.V. channels that were granted to digital T.V. stations, which some of the T.V. stations don’t even use, to fit the 143 on channel 5 & 6 to save 4,754 A.M. stations, that makes more sense.The Ibiquity digital radio is not going anywhere on A.M. or even on F.M., in my market F.M. stations are renting translators to broadcast their secondary channels. Why buy a digital radio if you can pick it up on the radio you now have?. That is also killing the F.C.C. A.M. broadcasting on F.M. translator ruling because A.M. broadcasters have to compete with broadcasting conglomerates for a translator, good luck!.

  • George, I agree with you regarding the HD Radio. Regarding TV channels 5 and 6; many of these stations moved back to those channels after the digital conversion took place. From a transmission perspective, it is very expensive to move to a different TV Channel. Often, a new transmitter, new antenna, new transmission line or wave guide needs to be installed. This can easily run in the $1M range. Are the TV stations on channel 5 and 6 to foot that bill again after only a few years?

    Also, because of the “white space” rules now in effect with the FCC, unused UHF TV channels can be used for wireless broadband service, which is a much greater priority than AM radio in the eyes of the current administration/FCC.

  • John

    It is looking like the 2015 Spectrum Grab is going to happen and all remaining TV will be compacted into channels 2-30, so channels 5-6 will not be an option. DRM in the 26 MHz region might be an option. Some years ago I seem to remember some discussion about proposed legislation where AM stations who voluntarily returned their licenses for cancellation would receive a tax certificate exempting them from paying federal tax on the subsequent sale of their real and personal property. Maybe it’s time to bring this idea back to life.

  • OK, I’m confused. Would the new stations in the CH5-6 band be AM or FM?

  • Paul Thurst

    @Spine, the plan was for the station to convert to FM and surrender their licenses for the AM (AKA Standard Broadcast) band.

  • Ah.

    That is a fair-sized investment.

  • The problem lies with two issues.

    1)Some of the VHF assignments (not many) are just about the only allotment a station can use without going to some directional pattern. (Ask WPVI-DT in Philly)

    2)The FCC would actually like to see TV broadcasting go away. Look at how quickly they want to buy our spectrum. Spectrum financial growth has grown faster than the price of gold.

    It is very clear to me that the FCC’s mission these days has very little to do with broadcasting…

  • John v

    My worry is white space use will overload a TV antenna amp.
    Many people use amps to get TV and a close transmitter could
    overload these amps. With DTV the TV will just blank out saying no signal.
    They will have no idea that a close transmitter is the cause.

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