Capitol's Goodmon urges end to UHF discount


Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc. head James Goodmon Thursday urged the Federal
Communications Commission to eliminate the "UHF discount," which allows the
household reach of UHF stations to count at one-half their actual reach for purposes
of tallying owners' compliance with the 35% TV-household-reach cap.

In a letter to FCC chairman Michael Powell Thursday, Goodman said, "The UHF
discount is not only no longer necessary, but it is actually harmful to the public

In a side-by-side comparison of Capitol's two analog stations located in
Raleigh, N.C. -- VHF WRAL-TV channel 5 and UHF WRAZ-TV channel 50 -- Goodmon
said the stations achieve almost equivalent over-the-air coverage utilizing maximum
power levels allowed by the commission.

According to a comparison prepared by Cohen, Dippell and Everist P.C., there is less than a 6% difference between the stations' reaches, Goodmon

The UHF discount was created to alleviate perceived technical differences
between the two services, but critics said its justification has eroded since the
advent of mandated cable carriage, which ensure UHF stations the most viewers a

Supporters of the discount said ratings prove that the historical disadvantage of
UHF stations has not disappeared.

The FCC is expected to retain the discount as part of its revision of
broadcast-ownership rules June 2.