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Radio/TV Notes: Deadline Tuesday to weigh in on FCC plan

| Monday, March 11, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

The deadline is Tuesday for comments about the latest Federal Communications Commission plan to reduce the TV spectrum for broadband and other wireless uses.

The FCC hopes to persuade broadcasters to voluntarily turn in their licenses. Stations would relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from an auction of new licenses to use the repurposed spectrum.

In short, broadcasters will share in what wireless providers and others pay for their former holdings.

Some may “kick the tires” and mull over going out of business, but National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president for communications Dennis Wharton does not expect a stampede of volunteers.

“We would predict that the vast majority of stations will stay in broadcasting,” Wharton said.

The focus remains on TV channels 31-51. Locally, that includes actual frequencies of WTAE, WPXI, WINP, WPMY, WPCB and WPGH.

The stations tout themselves, respectively, as virtual channels 4, 11, 16, 22, 40 and 53, but the actual assignments are channels 51, 48, 38, 42, 50 and 43.

The FCC has pushed the idea since Congressional action in 2009 to ensure that every American has access to broadband. A letter from Ohio members of Congress expressed concern about how the FCC plans to coordinate with the Canadian and Mexican governments when repacking television stations along international borders.

They said stations in Cleveland-Akron, Toledo and Youngstown already must coordinate interference protections with such markets as Detroit, Erie and Buffalo.

For what it's worth, three Youngstown stations, WKBN, WYTV and WNEO, are in the 31-51 part of the spectrum.

• The FCC is mulling over WPMY/WPGH licensee Sinclair's buy of Johnstown's WJAC-6 and Steubenville's WTOV-9 from WPXI licensee Cox. A Cox corporate spokesman said he did not expect the sale to affect deals among those stations, including WPXI's 10 p.m. news on WPGH and “Our Region's Business” on WPXI, WJAC and WTOV.

• Fish fry season is in full swing. Last Friday, fans of Corpus Christi Church in McKeesport won a live remote by CBS Radio's WDSY-107.9.

• Tourney time is here, too.

“We are carrying all the NCAA basketball tournament games as well as some live remotes and March Mania contests on (WBGG) 970 ESPN,” Clear Channel's Kathryn Ferri said. “We also got the rights to air The Frozen 4, the NCAA men's hockey tournament, here in Pittsburgh.”

Calvary's KQV-1410 has the Big Ten tourney Thursday through Sunday. CBS Radio's KDKA-93.7 will air Pitt's final Big East run and stay with the Panthers in the NCAA or NIT.

CBS Radio Pittsburgh general manager Michael Young said FM 93.7 can carry Pitt's lineup and selected Pirate spring training games.

• Also on KD-FM, its 2-5:40 a.m. rewind of highlights from the previous day was replaced with CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara.

“Been great so far,” the host known as “DA” said. “Lots of Pittsburghers have called in, and it's awesome to hear from McKeesport! I've always loved visiting the family out there and seeing Steelers games.”

Amendolara is a New York City native with relatives in old Tube City as well as Boston — the one in Elizabeth Township, that is.

• Jack Maloy did his last WDVE-102.5 show early on Feb. 28. Maloy is retiring and the Clear Channel FM congratulated him on its Twitter page for 36 years there.

• Salem's WORD-101.5's job fair will be March 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 500 Mansfield Ave., Green Tree. Call 412-937-1500 or visit the website wordfm.com for details.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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