At 10:42 AM -0800 12/22/06, Dale Kelly wrote:
I may not have explained the Santa Barbara markets (121st ranking) transmitter site distribution clearly. The NBC affiliate is located in the extreme north end of the market and the ABC station is 100 miles to the south, with CBS being about in the middle. Santa Maria is centrally located and generally can receive all three, but it deteriorates rapidly as you move north, south, east or west due to intervening terrain. There simply is not the revenue available in such a market to fund the investment required to cover a majority of the population OTA.
Sounds like most of the needed infrastucture is already in place. In this case, it should be possible to use the three sticks already in place. You could transmit all three channels (and others) synchronously from each stick, probably at somewhat lower power levels. A few on channel repeaters would probably be needed to fill in some of the valleys that can't see the stick(s) closest to them.
The cost to construct and operate the mandated DTV stations has caused many small market station to reach the financial tipping point.
Yup. It is ironic that we are coming full circle. In the late '70s it was very difficult to make a profit with a broadcast station if it was not a network affiliate in the top 100 markets. Then the cost of the equipment needed to operate a TV station began to plummet in the '80s, and we saw the number of broadcast stations multiply by about 1/3 (i.e. from about 1100 to 1600 stations). Everyone was making money in the late '80s and into the '90s, until the ratings for OTA stations started to drop precipitously. Now it is difficult - again - for smaller market stations, especially independents, to make a profit. The loss of network compensation in most markets, and the large decline in ratings for local news have not helped. And then there's the expense of operating two transmitters...
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