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:
- • Channel 22.1, Cool Music Network — A music video channel programmed for local viewers’ tastes.
• Channel 22.2, Que Huong TV — A local 24/7 Vietnamese channel, the first of its kind in the U.S., featuring news, community programs, cultural events and activities.
• Channel 22.3 — A local Christian Spanish channel with programs produced at the KAXT studios, in local churches and on location, addressing the concerns and issues of the Hispanic/Latino community.
• Channel 22.4, Bahia TV — Local Spanish channel.
• Channel 22.5, Diya TV — First free 24/7 South Asian channel in the nation with a locally produced talk show for women, political panels, entertainment, educational programming, movies and news.
• Channel 22.6, Coastal TV — Emphasizing California tourism.
• Channel 22.7 MyFamilyTV — Family-friendly programming.
• Channel 22.8, i2TV — Viewer generated content.
• Channel 22.9, The Real Hip Hop Network
• Channel 22.10, Corner Store — A localized arrangement of infomercial programs.
• Channel 22.11, Peanut TV — User generated real estate programming. Allows locals to advertise their homes on TV and online.
• Channel 23.12, Mobile Peanut TV — Free, locally generated listings for cars, motor homes, boats, motorcycles both on TV and online.
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)