WMFP 62 links with NBCBoston

Garrett Wollman wollman@bimajority.org
Tue Dec 13 02:39:44 EST 2016

<<On Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:56:48 -0500, Richard Chonak <richard@chonak.com> said:

> The article on NBC Boston's site says 60.5, which I suppose is 
> technically possible.   Maybe they want to use 60 for the sake of 
> consistency with their NH outlet.  Supposedly they will be on-air Dec 21 
> with the "countdown" programming already being transmitted from Needham 
> (8.1) and Merrimack (60.2).

That makes sense.

Note that WMFP is on channel 18 from FM-128, not 1 Beacon St. (their
old Beacon Hill analog site).  I actually don't know where WBTS-LD is
(their CP is for the 146 Murray St. tower, off the Fellsway East in
Medford, but the old analog channel 46 operation was on FM-128).

WMFP is owned by NRJ, a spectrum speculator, and one certainly assumes
that they are participating in the FCC spectrum auction (the fourth
stage of which starts at 10 AM today).  I say "assumes" because that
was NRJ's business plan all along, although whatever deal they may
have with NBC may affect their bid in the auction.  (Which may be why
this is being announced now -- although the stations still involved in
the auction, and their bids, are sealed until after the auction is
completed.  But presumably if NBC wanted to acquire a full-power
station they would have filed for it already; they're probably waiting
to see what effect the auction has on station prices before making a

Speaking of the auction, according to the latest press release, they
are currently looking to clear 84 MHz of spectrum, RF channels 36 and
higher.  (This target is adjusted after each stage of the auction in
response to the wireless carriers' bids for the spectrum.)  In the
Boston market that will definitely affect:

WSBK 38 (RF 39)
WDPX 58 (RF 40)
WLVI 56 (RF 41)
WHDH 7 (RF 42)
WGBX 44 (RF 43)
WYDN 48 (RF 47)
WLED-TV 49 (RF 48)
WEKW-TV 52 (RF 49)
WBIN-TV 35 (RF 50)

In Providence:

WLNE-TV 6 (RF 49)
WJAR 10 (RF 50)

These are the stations that are *guaranteed* to move, assuming the 84
MHz auction is successful.  Other stations *may* have to move, but the
FCC has said that the optimization program used to compute the
repacking gives preference to leaving the stations outside the
auctioned spectrum on their current channels.  (The same document also
says that they want to avoid moving stations onto channel 14, and
prefer moving stations onto channel 5.)  However, this won't always be
possible, so some non-participating stations on lower channels may
still get reassigned in order to squeeze everyone in.

The way this auction works, a station doesn't have to be in the
cleared range to participate; a station on channel 25, for example, might be
worth less to its owner than one on channel 44, and in the reverse
auction, it's the stations accepting the lowest bids that get bought
out.  In this scenario, buying out channel 25 opens up a channel that
can be used to accommodate the station on channel 44.  (It's actually
more complicated than that, because the optimization algorithm is run
globally, across the entire US television spectrum, and it may find
a different solution that assigns channel 25 somewhere else.)

The FCC runs the repacking optimization on every single round of the
auction; this is used to order all of the remaining stations from
least to most constraining, and the prices offered to the
least-constraining stations drop the fastest, because it would matter
less if they left the auction.  Once a station refuses a bid, they are
out of the auction permanently.


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