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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TV-13 digital transmitter gets federal OK, will be running by Christmas

NASHUA – TV-13 may have lost its position on Comcast’s cable lineup, but the city’s private community channel isn’t going away: The FCC has approved its new digital transmitter and antenna.

“Signal will reach Manchester & Boston by ’13 holiday season!” the station proclaimed on Twitter. “Ho! Ho! Ho!” ...

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NASHUA – TV-13 may have lost its position on Comcast’s cable lineup, but the city’s private community channel isn’t going away: The FCC has approved its new digital transmitter and antenna.

“Signal will reach Manchester & Boston by ’13 holiday season!” the station proclaimed on Twitter. “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

The low-power WYCN TV-13 still has an analog transmitter, the type that was common before virtually all television broadcasting switched to digital two years ago. It covers just a portion of Nashua and can only be seen by the few people left using analog over-the-air antennas.

The digital system will send the signal much farther and make it accessible to people with digital antennas.

Comcast cited complications involved with the analog transmitter when it dropped TV-13 this month, as well as a shortage of local programming.

Over The Air broadcasting, which owns the station, said an underlying reason for the dismissal was Comcast’s desire to use the signal for non-brodacasting reasons, such as home security networks and Internet broadband – an increasing part of Comcast’s business model.

Station managers Carolyn Choate and Gordon Jackson, who have been the public face of the station most of the time since its founding in 1988, rounded up a wide range of support for keeping the station on the cable system, without success.

Station founder Robert Rines left the station to Choate and Jackson in his will when he died in 2011. In February 2012, they sold it to Binnie Media, the firm founded by businessman and former senatorial candidate Bill Binnie. He replaced all local content, usually a couple hours a day, with syndicated or paid programming.

In May, the station was bought by Over the Air Broadcasting, of Seattle, for $4 million.

The company, owned by computer magnate Michael Dell, brought Jackson and Choate back to reinstitute local coverage. Shortly afterward, Comcast announced that it planned to drop the channel from its basic lineup.

Dell has bought a number of small- and low-power stations around the country in recent years. Business press rumors indicate that his desire is to eventually use the broadcasting spectrum for other means, such as mobile communication.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).