On GCI purchase of KTVA
w-gregg.juneau.ak.us/2013/2013b22-ktva - Permalink
- Home. Apparently, comments should say that one
is an actual viewer; that a copy has been sent to KTVA (1007 West 32nd Avenue,
Anchorage, AK 99503); and that the information
is true. The original and two copies should be received by the FCC
by Mar. 4.
By Walter Gregg,
a concerned viewer P.O. Box: 21693 Juneau, Alaska99802 retL "at"
License Renewal Processing Team Video Div., U.S. FCC 445 12th Street
SWRoom 2-A665 Washington, DC20554
I am a viewer of the on-air signal from KTVA Anchorage via the
relay station KXLJ-LD Juneau. KXLJ broadcasts on RF and virtual
channel 24. (This is also carried on cable channel 14, but I don't
have cable.) They currently carry live CBS programming (e.g., 60
minutes, The Late Show w/Letterman) in standard definition (480i)
format. Juneau once had only one over-air station, in black and
white and tape-delayed. If you didn't have cable TV, you basically
had no service. Now, for the first time in the history of Alaska's
capital city, all major networks (PBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS) are
represented over-the-air. Cable TV is no longer a necessity.
Competition finally arrived, thanks to digital TV. I obviously have
a personal interest in the continued availability of the major
network programming over-the-air. What happens to KTVA matters to
me because it's presently the source of our KXLJ CBS programming. I
have no knowledge of whether KXLJ will be able to obtain an
alternative CBS feed, should GCI finalize its purchase of KTVA and
discontinue the CBS affiliation.
Application. The current licensee of KTVA, Affiliated Media,
Inc. FCC Trust, has filed an application to reassign the license to
Denali Media Southeast, Corp. This is a subsidiary of GCI, Alaska's
dominant Cable TV company. GCI, through their subsidiary, is
planning to purchase a number of Alaska stations including KATH-HD
(NBC Juneau) and KTVA (CBS Anchorage).
concerns. GCI has provided no assurances of continued
over-the-air availability of NBC or CBS programming. In fact, their
news release indicated that they want to re-brand the stations,
transforming them into a news and entertainment leader, a statewide
platform for news and information, as well as providing unique
content. News articles suggest this is connected with GCI's
existing cable channel 1. This certainly implies the end of the
current programming. The entire transaction raises a number of
The reassignment may be anticompetitive. GCI
lost about 6,000 cable subscribers in Alaska during 2011 through
March 2012. Clearly, they're feeling the bite of competition.
Free, over-the-air programming is part of that competition. Is it
an acceptable response to competition to buy it up and snuff out
the on-air programming that viewers are only now coming to realize
is available? Juneau would apparently stand to lose both over-air
NBC and CBS. (As aforementioned, our over-air CBS is relayed from
KTVA Anchorage. GCI is also purchasing the Juneau NBC affiliate,
for which I have filed a separate objection.)
Cable TV may be an unaffordable alternative to
on-air programming. Stand-alone basic cable in Juneau currently
costs hundreds of dollars a year ($270/year for one set, per a GCI
telephone representative). But free, over-air major network
television has been one of the things everyone could share, for
better or worse. If the transaction is allowed and GCI terminates
existing on-air NBC and CBS programming, it becomes simply
unavailable to many in the community. It is difficult to see how
this serves the public interest, convenience, or necessity.
Tek-Pal Antenna DTV
GCI does not support the use of digital cable-ready sets for basic
cable without a converter box. They provide no PSIP (virtual
channel) signals. Basic programming can be received, but in random
channel order which may change without notice. GCI does not even
provide a channel map for this setup. The simplicity of using a
simplified remote such as the Tek Pal with a digital cable-ready
set is thus impractical.
GCI Cable DTV
GCI instead expects everyone to rent a cable converter box -- one
per set. But the universal remote provided is inaccessible to those
with cognitive disabilities, vision disabilities, and manual
dexterity issues. It is simply far too complex. If the
transaction is allowed and GCI terminates existing on-air NBC and
CBS programming, it becomes effectively unavailable to viewers who
cannot cope with the added complexity of cable. Again, it's hard to
see how this serves the public interest. By no stretch of the
imagination can it be called convenient or necessary.
There has been
inadequate public notice. I wrote to firstname.lastname@example.org on February
1 and sent a followup fax on February 11 in an attempt to
obtain information on the commenting procedures, where to find
further information, what the deadline for comments might be, and
so forth. Yet to date I have received no reply by email, phone, or
postal mail. It transpires that the FCC published public notice of
the license transfer in the daily digest dated January 30. That
document contains no reference to a right to comment or procedures
to do so. There is at least some doubt over the validity of public
notice that omits such information particularly when compounded by
the lack of response to a specific inquiry about the matter.
I object to the
reassignment of the license at this time. Given the above
concerns and the lack of detailed programming plans from GCI, I
object to the reassignment of the license to Denali Communications
Southeast, Corp. Assurances that existing network programming will
continue would make a difference to me, and might be possible if
they choose to transmit multiple channels. More meaningful public
notice would also make a difference. But in the absence of that,
I'm opposed to the license transfer. I don't think it serves the
public interest and I am far from certain that public notice
requirements have been met.
Station copy. I
certify that a copy of this letter has been mailed to KTVA, 1007
West 32nd Avenue, Anchorage, 99503.
True information. I
certify that the statements made in this letter are true to the
best of my knowledge and belief.
Existing broadcasters also view on-air reception as less
critical so long as cable reception is uninterrupted. For example,
theCW, the third subchannel of KJUD (virtual 8, carrier 11) has
been unavailable on-air to most sets since at least June 2, 2012.
Similarly, 360 North, the third subchannel of KTOO (virtual 3,
carrier 10) has been unavailable on-air to most sets since at least
February 10, 2013. Emails to Walter Gregg from Ed Youmans, KJUD
Directory of Engineering (Jul. 6, 2012) and Bill Legere, KTOO
Station Manager (Feb. 2013) have confirmed that both stations are
having over-air PSIP (virtual channel) problems and that the fix
may be some way down the road. Because they're available on the
cable, the on-air signal is not considered critical. The cable
company has even less incentive to maintain on-air
eMail from Walter Gregg to email@example.com , Feb.
1, 2013, inquiring about GCI cable TV's proposed purchases and
requesting information on when the public would have an opportunity
to learn more and to comment. The message was sent via gMail. It
did not bounce, but no confirmation or reply was ever received via
email (I did check the spam folder) and no postal reply was
Fax from Walter Gregg to the FCC tvinfo section at
1-202-418-2827 on February 11, 2013, inquiring about the same
matter and requesting a timely response. An automatic fax
confirmation of successful transmission was received, but no
response of any kind was has been received to date.