Broadcasters agree to share channel

Two Los Angeles television stations have joined up for a pilot project to share the same channel.

Upon Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, both KLCS and KJLA will be able to share a single broadcast channel, which would free up the spectrum for other uses. The broadcasters said on Tuesday that the arrangement should reduce infrastructure costs without sacrificing viewers’ experiences.

“Since spectrum is a finite and valuable resource, channel sharing is truly a win-win-win for consumers, broadcasters and wireless providers,” said Steve Largent, president of the wireless communications trade group CTIA.

“This helps broadcasters ensure that over-the-air customers may continue to enjoy their programming while the wireless industry continues to invest and innovate so it can meet the insatiable demands of its consumers for everything from broadband access to the ‘Internet of Things.’”

The deal would be the first of its kind.

Regulators at the FCC and lawmakers have pushed for channel-sharing arrangements to help free up broadcast frequencies and make more of the airwaves available for a future auction.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who leads the panel’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology, praised the announcement.

“When crafting the spectrum incentive auctions included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, we envisioned groups working together to find more efficient use of this limited resource to meet ever growing demand,” they said in a joint statement.

“We applaud these broadcasters and CTIA for their leadership and hope the FCC will act expeditiously to approve this trial.”

Through the first quarter of the year, the two broadcasters will conduct a series of tests that will lead to KLCS “hosting” KJLA’s content. After that, they will prepare a report for the FCC to share their experiences.