Category Archives: Up and Down the Dial

The FCC spectrum auction is over: What it means to Houston-area viewers

(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-LDdisplaced 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)
8 KUHT 8
11 KHOU 11
13 KTRK-TV 13
14 KBTX, Bryan 3
15 KFDM, Beaumont 6
16 reserved, public safety n/a
17 reserved, public safety n/a
18 reserved, public safety n/a
19 KTXH 20
20 KUVM-CD 34
21 KZJL 61
22 KTMD 47
23 KLTJ 22
24 KETH-TV 14
25 KYAZ 51
26 KRIV 26
27 KBTV, Beaumont 4
28 KUGB-CD 28
29 KITU, Beaumont 34
30 KXLN-DT 45
31 KUBE-TV 57
32 KPXB-TV 49
33 KTBU 55
34 KIAH 39
35 KPRC-TV 2
36 KFTH-DT 67
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¡Adios, V-me! Hello, PBS Kids!

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

Fox TV stations to see the Light

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.

 

 

Comet touches down on KIAH

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.

Laff sets lineup for Wednesday premiere

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 links up with Mako

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.

Fox O&Os to launch classic game show network, Buzzr TV

The Fox owned and operated stations, including KRIV channel 26, will be partnering with Fremantle Media to launch a classic game show network, Buzzr TV, this summer, according to a report at TV NewsCheck.

The network will feature Fremantle’s library of game show content, including Let’s Make a Deal, The Price is Right, Family Feud from the Dawson through O’Hurley years, and many other classic titles.

KTRK makes tax day a LAFF-ing matter

Katz Broadcasting, parent company of diginets Grit and Escape, will be launching a new all-comedy digital subchannel, LAFF, on April 15 on ABC and Scripps-owned stations around the country. Locally, KTRK, ABC13, will carry LAFF on channel 13.3.

The not-dead-yet LiveWell channel will remain in place airing reruns in high definition on ABC-owned stations, including KTRK channel 13.2.

More coverage from Broadcasting & Cable.

(h/t Mike McGuff)

Justice (Network) to be served starting Tuesday

KHOU has started running promos for the new Justice Network, which Gannett stations are picking up across the country.

Fans of Bounce, on 11.2, need not worry about their channel getting bounced. Justice Network will air on a new subchannel, 11.3. The new subchannel hasn’t been provisioned yet, so a rescan will be needed next Tuesday in order for you to be able to receive the new network.

Where oh where has my Qubo gone?

Viewers may have noticed recently that KPXB channel 49 has lost its subchannels. Main ION programming remains on channel 49.1, but Qubo, ION Life and infomercials disappeared from 49.2 through 49.4.

KPXB also carries the Airbox subscription service. To make room for more bandwidth for Airbox, the ION subchannels have moved down the dial to low-power sister station KBPX-LD, channel 46. This will make these channels harder to receive in most of the area, since KBPX’s signal doesn’t reach as far as KPXB’s.

You’ll now find Qubo on 46.2, ION Life on 46.3, ION Shop on 46.4, QVC on 46.5, and HSN on 46.6.