Stations: Gov't should promote rural translators


Rural TV stations are asking the Federal Communications Commission to make it
easier for them to build translator facilities needed to reach communities
outside of their primary coverage areas.

Translators are lower-power transmitters used to relay TV signals across
large but lightly populated areas or to remote towns isolated by mountains or
other terrain.

The National Translator Association said many rural communities lack access
to broadcast TV -- especially affiliates of small networks such as The WB Television Network or UPN --
because licenses for the facilities are too hard to acquire.

Currently, the FCC opens a filing window for translators and stand-alone
low-power TV stations once every five years.

Without easier access to translators, many rural communities will have
limited access to digital television, the association argued.

The FCC is seeking comment on the NTA's plan to allow rural stations to seek
translators at any time.

Translators located in urban markets and all low-power stations would remain
bound to twice-per-decade windows.