Update on TV Channel 6 stations ahead of the July 13, 2021 analog shutdown

Updated April 13, 2021

REC Networks is providing an update to those who are either (1) considering applying for a new full-service NCE station in the anticipated 2021 NCE Filing Window, (2) considering applying for a new LPFM station in a potential future filing window and (3) LPFM stations considering filing for a channel change with the new channel being in the reserved band (88.1~91.9, channels 201~220).

Full service NCE applications on the reserved band are required to protect 10 full-service TV stations operating on Channel 6.  For more information on the protections required, see §73.525 of the Rules.

LPFM stations proposing to operate on the reserved band channels must protect not just full-service TV stations, but also low power television (LPTV) and TV translators operating on Channel 6.  These stations can be protected in the following ways:

  • Using the distance separation tables in §73.825 of the Rules.
  • Requesting a waiver to use the contour overlap method described in §74.1205 with a notification to the station involved that a waiver is requested.
  • Obtaining a written letter from the impacted station consenting to the short-spacing.

All analog television services must be discontinued by 11:59PM local time, July 13, 2021.

On March 4, 2021, the FCC issued a Public Notice as a reminder to LPTV/Translator licensees and permittees about some critical dates to prepare for the analog shutdown.

Because of the TV Repack and other issues, the FCC has been extending construction permits to allow permittees more time to construct digital facilities.  The FCC had asked for the last extension requests to be made by March 15, 2021.  We note though, that the FCC will not extend analog authority after the July 13 sunset date.  After March 15, extensions will only be accepted where tolling is requested (such as an act of God, etc.) and still, no analog authority will be granted past July 13, 2021.

All other transition related LPTV/TV Translator technical filings should be filed no later than May 1, 2021.  This can include applications to move off of Channel 6 to different channels as well as “flash cut” (change from analog to digital) on the same channel.  It is also possible that some may request to move to Channel 6. Even if a construction permit may extend past the analog shutdown date, it does not extend any analog authority past the shutdown date.  Stations still needing to construct their digital facilities on the day after the analog shutdown will need to go silent until their digital operation is ready.  They can’t operate analog in the interim.

One specialty use of Channel 6 by LPTV licensees is the use of the station for the purpose of taking advantage of the aural carrier at 87.75 MHz to provide an “FM Radio-like” service, instead of operating like a more traditional television station.  Some in the industry refer to these stations as “Franken FMs”.  We normally refer to these stations as “FM6” operations.

Since all analog service is supposed to shut down after July 13, this would be interpreted as meaning that all FM6 operations will discontinued.  The advocacy group representing the interests of FM6 licensees has presented to the FCC, the concept of using a “hybrid” technology where the lower 4.5 MHz or so of Channel 6 would be used for a digital TV signal that can be viewed on existing ATSC1 television receivers and the upper portion of the spectrum is used for an analog carrier around 87.7 MHz to broadcast audio programming to FM receivers.   The FCC is currently considering the FM6 industry’s concept as well as comments of concern filed by REC, NPR and others in MB Docket 03-185.  We are hoping for a decision by the Commission prior to the analog shutdown.  Otherwise, the FCC can take no action and all analog operations will be shut down on July 13 and hybrid operation will not be authorized.

On April 9, 2021, REC has evaluated all of the TV Channel 6 stations that are currently authorized and we have found that many have already either converted to digital or plan a “flash cut” from analog to digital on or before the analog shutdown day.  Several Channel 6 LPTV/TV Translator licensees have not yet made any filings for their digital futures.  While REC supports the complete elimination of protection requirements between FM facilities in the reserved band and LPTV/TV Translator Channel 6 stations, it appears that many stations will continue as digital after the analog shutdown.  If no rule changes are put in place to remove or otherwise change the Channel 6 protection rules for FM facilities (both primary and secondary), LPFM proposals in the reserved band will still need to continue protecting these Channel 6 stations using the methods we have already discussed.

The following list includes all of the TV Channel 6 stations operating in the Untied States and their current status in respect to the upcoming analog shutdown.  It is a good gauge to predict the future availability of reserved band spectrum for LPFM stations in a future filing window, which we predict will be in 2022 or later.

The following Channel 6 stations must be protected by LPFM and full-service NCE stations as full-power TV stations:

77496 WVUA, Tuscaloosa, AL

127882 WABW-TV Pelham, GA

13929 WCES-TV Wrens, GA

66414 KBSD-DT Ensign, KS

18066 KTVM-TV Butte, MT *

21162 KWNB-TV Hayes Center, NE

73942 WRGB Schenectady, NY **

50141 WOUC-TV Cambridge, OH

13929 WKBS-TV Altoona, PA

35726 WPVI-TV Philadelphia, PA

* - KTVM-TV has filed a Petition for Rulemaking to change from Channel 6 to Channel 20 citing reception and viewer antenna size issues.  If granted, Channel 6 will remain protected until KTVM constructs their Channel 20 facility and is granted their license to cover.  This channel 6 will still remain protected for the 2021 NCE Window.

** - WRGB has filed a Petition for Rulemaking to change from Channel 6 to Channel 35 citing a serious reception problem since the 2009 DTV conversion.  WRGB has attempted power increases on Channel 6 and even a Digital Replacement Translator on Channel 5 to try to address these issues.  If granted, Channel 6 will remain protected until WRGB constructs their Channel 35 facility and is granted their license to cover. This channel 6 will still remain protected for the 2021 NCE Window.

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are already digital and will remain protected after the analog shutdown:

62827 K06LG-D Chuathbaluk, AK

183022 K06QP-D Juneau, AK

58282 KWFT-LD Fort Smith, AR

35274 K06AE Prescott, AZ

63149 KZNO-LP “Big Bear Lake” (actually Mount Wilson), CA

22556 K06KA-D Fort Jones, CA

14155 K06IQ-D Newberry Springs, CA

182954 KFMY-LP Petaluma, CA

129249 KNNN-LP Redding, CA

127882 KBKF-LP San Jose, CA (requesting waiver to operate hybrid)

20560 KMCF-LD Visalia, CA

56704 K06HU-D Aspen, CO

130881 K06NT-D Dolores, CO

25611 K06HN-D Gunnison, CO

23159 K06GW-D New Castle, CO

125642 WFIB-LD Key West, FL

67101 WATV-LD Orlando FL

70498 WDHC-LD Lebanon, KY

53167 K06AA-D Broadus, MT

182005 K06QF-D Heron, MT

198515 K06QN-D Judith Gap, MT

21710 K06NV-D White Sulphur Spring, MT

73776 K06AV-D Wolf Point, MT

53884 W06AJ-D Franklin, NC

9205 WLLB-LD Portland, ME

47977 K06JC-D Chadron, NE

19380 K06MK-D Elko, NV

59129 K06HT-D Ely, NV

11687 K06PG-D Laughlin, NV

14126 K06KQ-D Manhattan, NV

37523 K06DM-D Panaca, NV

128750 K06NY-D Ryndon, NV

8268 K06NS-D Chiloquin, OR

181635 K06QR-D Eugene, OR

130052 KPWC-LP Tillamook, OR

64856 WWXY-LD San Juan, PR

128836 KIPS-LD Beaumont, TX

KCVH-LD Houston, TX

K06JA-D Cedar Canyon, UT

29168 K06KO-D Kanarraville, UT

182236 KJDN-LD Logan, UT

59765 K06QS-D Salina & Redmond, UT

182983 KYMU-LP Seattle, WA

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are unbuilt or ungranted construction permits for digital Channel 6 operation:

182896 K06QL-D Ceres, CA

182802 (no call) San Luis Obispo, CA

182907 KTVJ-LD Boise, ID

182668 WDXN-LD Dixon, IL

181947 W06DG-D Evansville, IN

183492 K06PT-D Columbia, MO

182675 (no call) Rolla, MO

198517 K06QO-DT Martinsville, MT

198523 K06QQ-D Superior, MT

183409 K06PR-D Chamita, NM

182710 K06QI-D Orogrande, NM

183385 W06QK-D Radium Springs, NM

182560 (no call) Reno, NV

188724 W06DA-D Aguada, PR

187860 K06QJ-D Sioux Falls, SD

184450 K06QD-D Pasco, WA

183758 K06PU-D Yakima, WA

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations have pending original construction permits for Channel 6 digital operation:

182042 Santa Maria, CA

182188 & 181637 Laredo, TX

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are currently analog but have a permit to flash-cut to digital on or before the analog shutdown:

129651 KRPE-LP San Diego, CA

67552 KXDP-LP Denver, CO

6035 WEYS-LP Miami, FL

53584 WTBS-LP Atlanta, GA

128239 WRME-LP Chicago IL *

56043 WNYZ-LP New York, NY

130089 KBEZ-LP Amarillo, TX

40782 KFLZ-LP San Antonio, TX

55872 K06MM Bluff, UT

127802 WMTO-LP Norfolk, VA

* - Filed waiver request to extend CP and to operate analog after analog shutdown until flash cut is completed.  This request will likely be denied by the FCC.

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are currently analog and have not yet indicated their plans after the analog shutdown:

21492 KNIK-LP Anchorage, AK

62529 K06LP Circle Hot Springs, AK

28583 KLOA-LP Inyokern, CA

127996 KEFM-LP Sacramento, CA

11529 KCIO-LP Victorville, CA

41279 K06KJ Collbran,CO

11491 K06BI Manitou Springs, CO

70591 K06HZ Paonia CO

130063 WHDY-LP Panama City, FL

131127 WDDA-LP Dalton, GA

33177 KXKW-LP Lafayette, LA

26253 WJMF-LP Jackson, MS (April 2021 construction of modified analog facility, may flash cut)

22067 K06JU Howard, MT

35726 K06FE-D Miles City, MT

47991 K06KR-D Crawford, NE

52137 K06FT Penasco, NM

130027 KGHD-LP Las Vegas, NV

41364 WNDR-LP Auburn, NY

129224 WXXW-LP Binghamton, NY

129153 K06NI The Dalles, OR

125858 WRTN-LP Alexandria, TN

23848 WPGF-LP Memphis, TN

127887 WBFW-LP Arlington, TX

5316 KZFW-LP Dallas, TX

130492 K06QA Odessa, TX

2497 K06OY Baker Flats, WA

68334 K06FD Labarge & Big Piney, WY

60161 KSHW-LP Sheridan, WY

The following low-power TV stations have filed an application to move TO Channel 6.

49188 WDMY-LP Toledo, OH

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are currently analog and have a companion (different) channel running digital.  These stations will either shut down Channel 6 or they will convert their analog Channel 6 station to digital at the analog shutdown (they would be required to give up one of their channels after the analog shutdown):

14319 WVOA-LP Westvale, NY (Companion channel 15)

57999 KRGT-LP Rio Grande City, TX (Companion channel 5)

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations are currently analog and have filed an application to change channels to operate digital after the analog shutdown:

130439 WOWZ-LP Salisbury, MD

20450 WDCN-LP Fairfax, VA

The following low-power TV Channel 6 stations have cancelled licenses (either through surrender or expiration at renewal time):

25207 W06BH Phenix City, AL

If you have any questions, please comment to this post, ask on the LPFM Facebook Group or contact REC Networks.  This list is subject to change based on decisions made by the Channel 6 licensees and permittees.  This is an active document and will be revised appropriately.