Sometimes an administrative agency doesn’t get it right. That’s what the United States Court of Appeals said last week when it reviewed a decision by the Federal Communications Commission to deny a request by PMCM TV, LLC to approve the reallocation of VHF channels from the company’s operations in Nevada and Wyoming to New Jersey and Delaware.
The FCC had long denied a VHF channel in New Jersey and Delaware, arguing that stations in neighboring Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia would interfere with the signal of a station in the two states. The court reasoned that section 331(a) of the Communications Act was specifically passed in order to resolve the problem of New Jersey’s lack of a VHF channel. The court further observed that the FCC is directed to allocate VHF channels to each state where technically feasible and grant any proposed technically feasible reallocation to unserved states. Delaware and New Jersey fit the bill.