No more premium channels over the air as of October 31, as Airbox is notifying customers that it is shutting down operations at the end of the month.
The service had trouble finding its niche. It started off airing Spanish-language channels, and gradually shifted to offering movie channels from the Showtime family of networks. Now customers have been notified that their service will continue free of charge until shutdown.
(To avoid confusion I will use the term “frequencies” to refer to physical channel numbers and “channels” to refer to the individual program streams. For example: Channel 14, KETH, broadcasts on frequency 24.)
The Federal Communications Commission recently completed the first reverse auction of spectrum space, which moved several channels out of the TV band and reassigned them to wireless communications. As a result of the auction, stations broadcasting on frequencies above 36 will have to relocate to lower frequencies.
It was a challenge to work out all the channel moves, but in the end, all the UHF frequencies that are available for assignment in the Houston market will be occupied. Some frequencies will not be available in this area. Frequencies 16-18 are reserved for public safety broadcasting (police and fire dispatch). Other frequencies are too close to frequencies being used in adjacent markets and cannot be assigned to stations here.
In the auction, low-power stations were not protected and most were displaced by full-power stations. However, Class A low-power stations were protected and participated alongside full-power stations.
In the Houston area, of the 17 full-power and 2 Class A low-power stations, 11 are remaining on their correct frequencies, and 8 will be shifting to different frequencies between December 1, 2018 and April 12, 2019. No stations will be entering into channel-sharing arrangements.
Here’s a summary of what’s going to happen in Houston:
Frequency 7, KDHU-LD – low VHF, not impacted
Frequency 8, KUHT – no change
Frequency 11, KHOU – no change
Frequency 13, KTRK – no change
Frequency 15, KVVV-LD – fate unknown; not available for full-power due to interference from KFDM in Beaumont
Frequency 19, KTXH (channel 20) – no change
Frequency 21, KVQT-LD – displaced by KZJL
Frequency 22, KUVM-LD (channel 10) – displaced by KTMD
Frequency 23, KLTJ (channel 22) – no change
Frequency 24, KETH (channel 14) – no change
Frequency 26, KRIV – no change
Frequency 28, KUGB-CD – no change
Frequency 30, KCVH-LD – displaced by KXLN
Frequency 32, KPXB (channel 49) – no change
Frequency 34, KUVM-CD – moving to frequency 20
Frequency 35, KPRC (channel 2) – no change
Frequency 36, KFTH (channel 67) – no change
Frequency 38, KIAH (channel 39) – moving to frequency 34
Frequency 39, KZHO-LD (channel 38) – out of band
Frequency 41, KUBE (channel 57) – moving to frequency 31
Frequency 42, KTBU (channel 55) – moving to frequency 33
Frequency 43, KHLM-LD – out of band
Frequency 44, KZJL (channel 61) – moving to frequency 21
Frequency 45, KXLN – moving to frequency 30
Frequency 46, KBPX-LD – out of band
Frequency 47, KYAZ (channel 51) – moving to frequency 25
Frequency 48, KTMD (channel 47) – moving to frequency 22
Displaced and out-of-band LPTV stations can apply for a new channel assignment in the VHF band, attempt to share with other stations, or go off the air.
So here’s how the new broadcast band will look:
|Frequency||Call sign||PSIP (virtual ch)|
|16||reserved, public safety||n/a|
|17||reserved, public safety||n/a|
|18||reserved, public safety||n/a|
Houston Public Media (KUHT channel 8) has adjusted its subchannel lineup today. Gone from 8.3 is V-me, the Spanish-language channel; it has been replaced by a 24-7 PBS Kids channel. The channel will also be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Video App for mobile and tablet devices
Roma Downey (late of Touched By an Angel) and her husband, producer Mark Burnett, are starting a 24-hour-a-day “faith and family” multicast channel called “Light TV” that will be carried by Fox-owned TV stations.
The channel is expected to launch in December.
It’s unknown whether the channel will air locally on KRIV or KTXH, but Channel 20’s subchannel space is currently full, with Movies!, Decades and Buzzr.
Good news for science fiction fans! Comet, a new digital subchannel promising “popular favorites, cult classics, and undiscovered gems”, has premiered on KIAH 39.3.
The 39.3 position has been missing since Universal Sports signed off a few years ago.
Stargate and The Outer Limits feature prominently on the channel’s launch schedule. Check out the web site for a full schedule.
Fremantle’s new digital channel Buzzr has launched on Fox-owned stations nationwide, including KTXH 20.4 in Houston.
Here’s a look at the channel’s schedule:
WEEKDAYS (All times Eastern)
6A/6:30A Family Feud
8A Child’s Play
8:30A Body Language
9:30 Card Sharks
10A/10:30A Match Game
11A/11:30A Family Feud
12P/12:30P Super Password
1P/1:30P Press Your Luck
2P Child’s Play
2:30P Body Language
3:30P Card Sharks
4P/4:30P Match Game
5P/5:30P Family Feud
6P/6:30P Super Password
7P/7:30P Press Your Luck
8P/8:30P Let’s Make a Deal
9P/9:30P Match Game
11P/11:30P Let’s Make a Deal
12A/12:30A Match Game
2A-4A “Buzz Til Dawn” (To Tell the Truth/What’s My Line/I’ve Got a Secret)
4A-6A “Buzz Til Dawn” (To Tell the Truth/What’s My Line/I’ve Got a Secret)
Saturday (All times Eastern)
6A/6:30 Family Feud
8A Child’s Play
8:30 Body Language
9:30 Card Sharks
10A/10:30: Stanley on the Go (E/I)
11A-1P: To Tell the Truth/What’s My Line/I’ve Got a Secret
1P-3P: To Tell the Truth/What’s My Line/I’ve Got a Secret
3P: Child’s Play
3:30: Body Language
4:30: Card Sharks
5P/5:30: Family Feud
6P Child’s Play
6:30 Body Language
7:30: Card Sharks
8P-11P: Buzzr Time Machine (5 to 6 shows in a 3 hour span from the same decade)
11P-2A: Buzzr Time Machine (5 to 6 shows in a 3 hour span from the same decade)
2A/2:30A: Family Feud
3A/3:30A: Family Feud
4A/4:30A: Super Password
5A/5:30A: Super Password
Sunday: (all times Eastern)
6A/6:30A: Match Game
7A/7:30A: Match Game
8A/8:30A: Let’s Make a Deal
9A/9:30A: Let’s Make a Deal
10A/10:30A: Dog Tales (E/I)
11A/11:30A: Animal Rescue (E/I)
12P/12:30P: Super Password
1P/1:30P: Super Password
2P/2:30P: Match Game
3P/3:30P: Match Game
4P/4:30P: Family Feud
5P/5:30P: Family Feud
6P/6:30P: Press Your Luck
7P/7:30P: Press Your Luck
8P-11P: Monster Buzz (Monster Garage/Monster Garage/Monster House)
11P-2A: Monster Buzz (Monster Garage/Monster Garage/Monster House)
2A/2:30A: Press Your Luck
3A/3:30A: Press Your Luck
4A/4:30A: Match Game
5A/5:30A: Match Game
TBN has shuffled its subchannel lineup, merging Smile of a Child (formerly KETH 14.5) into Juce TV (14.3) to make room for the introduction of its new Hispanic-themed channel Salsa on 14.5.
The new Salsa channel targets English-speaking Hispanics.
Smile of a Child is now seen as a 9-hour block on 14.3, from 5 a.m. until 2 p.m. It continues to broadcast 24/7 on www.smileofachildtv.com.
Bryan-College Station’s Fox affiliate, KYLE 28.1, is going to be joining the MyNetworkTV lineup as of July 1 and start targeting the Waco-Temple market in addition to Aggieland.
This would leave the B-CS portion of the extended Waco-Temple-Bryan market without a primary over-the-air Fox affiliate. Sister station KWKT 44.1 airs Fox in the Waco-Temple area.
Post-July 1 plans haven’t been announced, but it’s possible that KYLE will air KWKT’s Fox programming on a subchannel for Aggieland viewers, and KWKT would put KYLE on a subchannel for Waco-area viewers.
Hopefully you’ve gotten your taxes prepared already. In case you’re one of those people who sit down at the last minute to prepare them, the new digital channel Laff (KTRK channel 13.3) will have something to take your mind off your taxes.
The channel launches at 7 a.m. Wednesday with the movie “My Mom’s New Boyfriend”, followed by double runs of Empty Nest and Ellen. Two movies follow, with VIce Versa at 11 a.m. and My Father, The Hero at 1 p.m.
Double runs of Spin City, Ellen (different episodes from the 10 a.m. slot), Grace Under Fire and The Drew Carey Show follow.
Then at 7 p.m., another set of double runs of Spin City and The Drew Carey Show (again, different episodes from earlier). At 9 p.m. is So I Married an Axe Murderer.
A third Drew Carey double run follows at 11 p.m. That will be followed by double runs of Grace Under Fire and Empty Nest, then a movie at 2 a.m., more Empty Nest at 4 a.m., and movies at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Mi Casa Broadcasting has announced a distribution deal with Mako Communications to put the MCBN signal into 19 markets, including a return to the Houston airwaves.
Mako owns KUVM-LD channel 10 and KUVM-CD channel 34 in the Houston market. No word yet on which channel MCBN will land on.