This is an item about two proposed local facilities changes - one approved, one on the consideration table - and oddly enough, a very indirect link between them.
First, thanks to the many tipsters who have let us know that Western Reserve PBS' Youngstown-market WNEO/45 Alliance has indeed received FCC approval of a construction permit to increase its new Channel 45 digital facility from 44KW to 500KW.
The "maximization" permit was approved after WNEO and Post-Newsweek Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV/4 reached an interference acceptance agreement. The area involved would be a small area presumably on the fringes of each station's coverage area.
OMW doesn't know yet when WNEO will be able to increase its power.
For one, the construction permit (as you can see from the FCC link above) is labeled a post-transition application, and we're not sure yet if the Western Reserve PBS folks would be able to light it up before the transition on February 17th. We don't know the FCC rules regarding post-transition facility grants.
But we're sure they will increase the power of WNEO's digital transmitter as soon as it is possible, even if it's on that date. WNEO, of course, moved its digital allocation to 45 last month, signing off the old analog channel 45 for good.
Stay tuned...we'll let you know as soon as we know.
Over in Akron, Western Reserve PBS' WEAO-DT will remain on digital channel 50 at the transition, though it'll continue to appear on digital tuners and converter boxes as channel 49.
But WEAO's analog channel 49 will sign off along with all (remaining) full-power analog stations across America in February. And since Western Reserve PBS won't want or need the old RF 49 channel, the folks at Trinity Broadcasting are hoping to take it over.
The FCC has released a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking", which would allot digital channel 49 to Canton, replacing digital channel 39 (PDF file)- which is being used now by Trinity's WDLI-DT from its transmitter site in Summit County's Copley Township just down the road from WEAO/WEAO-DT.
WDLI would continue to be based at the Wadsworth Road facility it built recently. The station once applied to move its analog channel 17 to Summit County, but it never left Stark County's Louisville...and is a moot point with the end of full-power analog TV so near.
And of course, the "PSIP" program information standard will show WDLI-DT as Channel 17(.1, .2, etc.) no matter what.
But the move to underlying digital channel 49 after WEAO abandons it on the analog side would allow the TBN O&O a large power increase. WDLI-DT is operating at a power level of 200KW, and moving the underlying digital RF channel from 39 to 49 would allow it to increase power to 900KW.
It's such a big move that Trinity has already secured a mutual interference agreement with another occupant of digital 49 - Gray Television's WTAP-DT, the Parkersburg WV NBC affiliate, which is maximizing its own facility.
And the reason would appear to be obvious...that WDLI would be able to cover much more of the full Cleveland market from its Summit County digital transmitter after the power increase and channel change...