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South Bay station brodcasts 12 TV signals

With the switch to digital television, stations are now allowed to transmit several “multicast” channels in addition to their main signal. The station airing the most multicast stations in the Bay Area is the smallest station in the market, KAXT-LD, licensed to Santa Clara-San Jose.

Though KAXT-LD is operating at just 12,200 watts (compared to 1 million or more for full-power broadcasters), those with a view of Mt. Allison (see the star on the map at left) can probably pick up the signal with a DTV antenna.

The station transmits on Channel 42, which was relinquished by KTNC Concord during the digital transition. On a DTV tuner, however, KAXT-LD will indicate it is on virtual channel 22.

In an FCC filing in June, KAXT revealed its extensive channel lineup consisting of 12 TV channels and 10 audio channels:

The 10 “radio on TV” channels are in different languages.

KAXT, which has been on the air as a low power station since 1990, almost didn’t survive the transition to digital. According to FCC documents, KAXT filed an application in 2007 for a digital channel, and was awaiting approval from the FCC to move Channel 42 when the DTV transition began.

Then, on May 28, KTVU filed for the same channel. KTVU said it needed Channel 42 to fill in coverage gaps that were created when it switched to digital. In its petition to the FCC, KTVU argued that such a request from a full-power broadcaster trumped whatever application a low-power station had submitted.

KAXT responded to the FCC by arguing that KTVU could use one of the multicast channels of its sister station, KICU in San Jose, to fill in the coverage gaps. If the concern was about getting Fox network programming to viewers, KAXT pointed out that Monterey-Salinas Fox affiliate KCBA 35 serves much of the area in question.

“The minority community is already up in arms and plans to make its views loudly known to government officials at all levels,” KAXT said in its petition opposing KTVU’s request for Channel 42. “There is absolutely no need or justification for wreaking this kind of havoc on the minority community just to provide KTUV’s Fox network service to a very small number of households, particularly when there are other ways to accomplish that objective.”

On June 26, the FCC’s Hossein Hashemzadeh, associate chief of the agency’s Media Bureau Video Division, informed KAXT they had received special temporary authority to transmit on Channel 42 through Dec. 26, 2009.

KAXT-LD is licensed to Broadland Properties Inc. and the license on its studio-transmitter link license indicates it is broadcasting from a house on Mt. Hamilton Drive in San Jose. (Graphic credit: FCC.gov file on KATX)

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