Venture Technologies Group, owner locally of WBPA-LP (Channel 30), was told by the FCC last week that an application to convert to Digital channel 6 has been rejected. Venture has been behind the “Franken-FM” stations which appear at 87.7 FM, a below-the-typical-FM-dial station which operates at the same frequency as TV channel 6. According to Fybush.com and others, Venture would have converted the analog license to a hybrid analog/digital signal and additionally use Axcera’s “Bandwidth Enhancement Technology” to split the frequency in order to use the audio-only feed on 87.7.
However, as Ohio Media Watch pointed out earlier this summer, 87.7 is not considered a “full” station and many newer radios cannot pick up the frequency. Of course, there’s also the fact that the FCC has a 2015 deadline to cease any and all Channel 6 operations to open up spectrum for other technologies. If that plan remains in place, several “Franken-FM” stations in other cities will also come to an end.
For what it’s worth, WJAC-TV (6) in Johnstown, whose audio at 88.7 once reached the Pittsburgh area fairly well appears to be prepared for the planned 2015 change as they have not moved their digital allocation from channel 32. Meanwhile WPVI-TV (6) in Philadelphia relocated its digital signal to channel 6 in 2009 and will likely have to move again if the plan goes through.