NBC has won its battle to regain San Francisco viewers that were lost two years ago when it dropped longtime affiliate KRON and moved its programming to San Jose, Calif., owned-and-operated KNTV.
The FCC Friday approved NBC's request to move KNTV's transmitter from southwest of San Jose to an antenna farm 40 miles to the north.
According to FCC measurements, the move allows KNTV to bring NBC programming to roughly 400,000 viewers in the San Francisco area who have been without access to the net's programming since 2002.
Although more than a million people in the Monterey/Salinas markets will lose KNTV service with the switch, all but 21,000 will continue to receive NBC programming from other affiliates of the network.
The FCC said the benefit of bringing NBC access to 400,000 San Franciscans outweighed the loss of access for the 21,000 Monterey/Salinas viewers. The move was opposed by Young Broadcasting, which beat out NBC in battle to buy KRON.
NBC tried to ward off other bidders for KRON by threatening to end its affiliation with the station. Young argued that NBC should not be allowed to drop any of KNTV's traditional viewers just to recapture viewers it willingly gave up in the affiliation switch.