A long time ago, I worked for a guy named Bob McAllan, then the President of Press Broadcasting in New Jersey. Bob had one of the most brilliant minds I’ve encountered, always several steps ahead of everyone, especially the FCC. While I worked with him, we managed to do stuff like reallocate the TV dial in Central Florida to end up with us having the best TV signal in the market, 5 million watts in the main Orlando antenna farm on channel 18, and buying a Trenton FM, turning it into a statewide powerhouse, and figuring out how to let out the directional pattern so that we could cover even more territory. He was, and is, an amazing broadcaster.
And he’s still at it. It was unsurprising that he managed to find an FCC TV regulation that remained on the books after the digital transition and used it to buy two rural northern Nevada TV stations (total value: practically nothing) and move them clear across the country, reallocating them to Middletown, NJ and Wilmington, DE, and putting their antennas smack in the middle of Manhattan and in Philadelphia’s Roxborough antenna farm, respectively. Here he is pushing the button to launch the new Channel 2 Wilmington/Philadelphia:
The play with low-band VHF digital stations is, of course, to get must-carry positioning on cable systems. That, I hear, has been accomplished in Philadelphia, where the new KJWP-TV is being added to Comcast/Xfinity on channel 2. And that means that for the price of a rural Wyoming TV license, legal and engineering fees, a lease on the tower and in the transmitter building, and the cost of a used transmitter and antenna, Bob managed to pull off owning New York and Philadelphia full-market TV stations, all because he read the laws and understood them, and the FCC, which tried to deny the moves and was ordered by a judge to comply, didn’t. I’m proud to have worked with Bob in the past, and I’m proud to see him still making brilliant moves and driving the FCC crazy in the process. In case you haven’t followed my career, driving people crazy is kind of my thing, too.
There’s more about the move by ace communications attorney Harry Cole here.