SYRACUSE -- At least two low-power television stations are looking to expand their reach across the Syracuse metropolitan area. That's according to recent filings with the Federal Communications Commission, which are required when stations want to changes to their existing broadcast licenses.
Low-power Cornerstone TeleVision affiliate WTVU-LP is now officially identified as WTVU-LD, after owner Renard Communications recently reported to the FCC that it has successfully flash-cut the station from analog to digital broadcasting on channel 22.
Prior to the change, Renard requested FCC permission to increase its power to 15,000 watts, from the analog signal's 6,300 watts. Normally, such a request may have been halted by the FCC, as the increase creates interference with W22DO-D, a Utica-based translator for Syracuse PBS affiliate WCNY-TV. However, Renard filed a separate Engineering STA, in which it explained to the FCC that there is "significant overlap" between W22DO-D and WCNY-TV in the areas where a more powerful WTVU-LD would cause interference. In other words, viewers who experience trouble getting W22DO-D because of WTVU's power increase would still be able to watch WCNY-TV's primary signal.
As a result, Renard and WCNY's owner, the Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York, Inc., both signed an Interference Acceptance Agreement. In the document, WCNY President/CEO Robert Daino agreed that he has no objection to WTVU's power increase. As a result, the FCC can disregard any interference as a barrier to Renard's request. The FCC granted the station's license to cover on Tuesday, and an announcement was issued in today's Daily Digest.
Another low-power TV station, Daystar Network affiliate WDSS-LD 38, has requested FCC permission to raise the height of its broadcast antenna. The station had been licensed for 15,000 watts from an antenna 431 meters above mean sea level. A "minor change to a licensed facility" construction permit, requested in February 2012 and finally granted late last month, gives station owner Word of God Fellowship, Inc. the permission to raise the antenna another 43 meters, but everything else remains the same.
Comparing the old signal contour map to the new, it appears the higher elevation will slightly increase the WDSS coverage area in every direction. No word on exactly when the upgrade will be performed, but because the permit was approved by the FCC on May 22, 2013, the owners have until May 22, 2016 -- three years -- to carry out the work.