Update On WNEO Power Increase

As we reported earlier, Western Reserve PBS now has a construction permit to increase power at its Youngstown-market station, WNEO/45, from 44KW to 500KW. WNEO signed off its analog signal on channel 45 last month, and lit up the 44KW digital facility on 45 shortly thereafter.

We have a tentative answer about when Western Reserve PBS will be able to “up the juice” on the new digital channel 45, which serves mostly the Youngstown/Warren area and parts of eastern Stark and Portage Counties from its transmitter site in Salem.

That answer? “Not yet.”

The delay is not at all the fault of Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc., the licensee of WNEO which is now doing business as Western Reserve Public Media. The folks on Campus Center Drive are eager and ready to increase the power of Channel 45.

But as we suggested in our earlier item on the construction permit, it is designated as a “post-transition” permit.

And a little digging into the official FCC authorization (wait a little bit, then click “Get Authorization” for a PDF file) finds these words on page 3:

Special operating conditions or restrictions:

This is to notify you that the grant of this construction permit is
subject to the condition that this facility can not commence operation
prior to midnight of February 17, 2009, or by such other date as the
Commission may establish in the future, without prior approval from the
Commission.

There, it’s pretty clear…though OMW hears that Western Reserve PBS officials are trying to find out if the FCC would allow them to increase WNEO’s power to 500KW early. (We assume this is boilerplate language on all of the FCC’s post-transition digital TV authorizations.)

Assuming that such answers usually have something of a wait, the station may still be waiting for an answer from Washington by, well, February 17, when the power increase can go into effect anyway.

But if there’s any other word on this, we’ll let you know…

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