Digital Virtual channel allocation



Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Guru
Oct 29, 2008
Not sure if this is the best forum for this question, but a discussion in the dish Network forum that mentioned PSIP virtual channels today made me curious...

In San Diego, the local NBC affiliate broadcasts on analog channel 39. Yet, they largely market themselves as channel 7, as this is their local cable channel. Similarly the Fox affiliate is broadcast on analog 69, but market themselves by their cable designation 5 (much to the chagrin of junior high boys metro-wide).

If what I've read on wikipedia is correct, post digital transition the NBC affiliate will broadcast on channel 40, with a virtual channel of 39. Fox plans to broadcast on digital channel 19, with a virtual channel of 69.

My question is, what is to stop these stations from setting their virtual channels to be 7 and 5, respectively, and effectively abandoning their present analog UHF channel designations that their marketing departments do not appear to be fond of? Would they need to apply to the FCC for permission to use these virtual channels? If so, is there any reason for the FCC to deny said permission? To my knowledge, there is no OTA channel 7 or 5 presently in the San Diego area.

Thanks in advance for any insight y'all can provide. And, if this thread is a better fit in another forum, please re-locate as appropriate.


SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
Lubbock, Texas
I could be wrong, but I believe the virtual channel has to have some relation to either their current RF channel or the legacy analog channel they were broadcasting from, they cannot just pick a number out of the air.

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