The FCC has denied a request by Oceanic Time Warner Cable
and Hawaiian Telcom Services Co. (HTSC) that they do not have to carry KLEI TV
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on their respective systems.
The station, under new ownership since 2011, asked for
carriage, but the operators said no. KLEI then filed a must-carry complaint.
The FCC agreed with the cable operators that the station
could not argue historical carriage -- neither had been carrying the station
before it was bought in 2011 and the new owners sought carriage -- or that it
was delivering an over-the-air signal to any of the communities it sought cable
carriage in. Those are two of the four tests for carriage. But the FCC said the
absence of those was not sufficient to deny the station's request, and said
that the unique characteristics of the Hawaiian market and KLEI's "strong
lineup of local programming of relevance to the inhabitants of Hawaii County
and to all Hawaiians, as well as foreign-language programming targeted at
special groups and residents," persuaded it to grant the carriage
TWC had also asked that it carry the station in digital-only
version since the FCC lifted the dual-carriage/viewability mandate in June. But
the FCC pointed out that it had included a six-month grace period for hybrid
analog-digital carriage until December, which TWC would have to adhere to.
HTSC had said that if it carried KLEI, it should not have to
carry it on channel 6 in Honolulu because it was already carrying station KBFD
there. The FCC rejected that request as well. It pointed out that it has
clarified -- very
recently, in fact -- that a digital station, generally speaking, is
entitled to be carried on its former analog channel number, which in the case
of KLEI was 6 (KBFD was 32).