Paxson renews DTV complaint

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Bud Paxson is the latest broadcaster urging the Federal Communications Commission to face up to what could be a growing number of interference complaints as new digital-TV stations power up.

Soon after WBOC-TV Salisbury, Md.'s, June 11 complaint accusing digital
station WHRO-DT Hampton Roads, Va., of encroaching on channel 16 across the
Chesapeake Bay on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Paxson's lawyer reminded the FCC
that his KSPX(TV) Sacramento, Calif., four months earlier filed a similar complaint
against the CBS digital affiliate by the bay, KPIX-DT San Francisco.

The California stations use channel 29.

In both instances, the digital and analog stations are in different markets
and were expected to have no interference problems.

But industry sources said they know the cause of today's problems: The lack of
real-world knowledge about digital-signal propagation forced the FCC to rely on
theoretical modeling to allocate channels.

As more digital stations come on the air, however, broadcasters are finding
that the actual coverage area and signal strength of digital-TV stations is sometimes quite
different than predicted.

Consequently, the new signals may interfere with existing analog
stations.

"The commission must decide how it will resolve complaints where DTV
interference extends well beyond the predicted into an [analog] station's
existing city-grade service area," Paxson attorney John Feore wrote in a letter
to Rick Chessen, the FCC's digital-TV point person.

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