Raycom to FCC: Lack of Channel Change Hurts Minorities

Says petition has been pending for more than two years

In a letter to FCC acting chair Mignon Clyburn,
Raycom says the commission’s inaction on its
request to move WMC-TV Memphis from VHF
Ch. 5 to UHF Ch. 17 is harming viewers, particularly
low-income and minority households.

Raycom says its petition has been pending for
more than two years—which means before the
FCC froze such petitions as it figures out where
to put stations after the incentive auctions.

Raycom adds WMC lost thousands
of viewers in the 2009
switch to digital (UHF channels
are better for delivering
signals in DTV, the opposite of
analog), and most of the losses
were low-income and minority viewers. WMC
says 15% of viewers in focus groups had trouble
receiving its signal while virtually none had
problems receiving other signals.

Raycom also notes viewers say
they are paying for programming
that is “specifically developed for
the African-American community.”
This is a reference to Raycom
being the first station group in the
country to launch the Bounce TV
network. Now, “much of the target audience in
Memphis is being deprived of the opportunity
to view it over the air,” Raycom says.