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Historic Allotment Documentation

General Notes

This tool is designed to display how the TV Table of Allotments changed over time, beginning with the original table in late 1945, through the addition of UHF in 1952, the computer-based overhaul of the table in 1965 (corrected in 1966), and all the way up to the time of the digital TV transition. At present, this tool only tracks the analog table of allotments, but it is hoped that it will eventually be expanded to include the digital table of allotments as well. (It should be noted that the 4/21/1997 Sixth Report and Order on digital television indicated that a number of vacant analog allotments had been deleted, but neglected to mention which allotments those were. In the absence of any hard information, those allotments remain in the tool after 4/21/1997.)

There is no clear standard for determining the date that a specific change took place. Even with the official FCC documents, there is an "adopted" date, a "release" date, a "publication" date, and an "effective" date. However, when this project started, the primary source of information was old Broadcasting magazines as found on David Gleason's excellent WorldRadioHistory.com website.

As such, dates prior to 3/1/1993 are usually the date of the Broadcasting magazine which contains the allotment change, unless it is missing, in which case it is the date of the issue it should have appeared in. That being said, some errors in the rules do not correspond to specifc dates and are therefore dated either 9/30 or 10/1 of the year they first appear, as the rules are published each year as of one of those dates.

On 3/1/1993, Broadcasting magazine changed its name to Broadcasting and Cable. By this time, most of the information on the changes of allotments was no longer being regularly included in the magazine, and the official FCC documents from that time until the present are more regularly available. Therefore, dates after 3/1/1993 are the "release" date found on the FCC order.

Finally, there are several notations which are generally applicable throughout the table of allotments:

  • Any allotment contained within (parentheses) is a "community" allotment in the pre-1952 table of allotments. These are allotments that were reserved for essentially lower-powered stations, generally in large communities nearby to much larger cities. They were eliminated with the 1952 overhaul of the table of allotments.
  • Any allotment with a * next to it is reserved for non-commercial educational use only. These are primarily PBS stations, but may also be unaffiliated educational independent stations or religious broadcasters.
  • Any allotment with a c after it is a digital allotment which is one channel above an analog allotment. As such, it is required to use a precise carrier frequency to avoid interference with that analog allotment.

Notes About Flagged Allotments

There are two categories of "flagged" allotments in this tool. All of the flagged allotments take the form of a superscript number or letter, and hovering over the superscript will allow a description to pop up.

First, there are numerical superscripts. These are footnotes found in the FCC rules, often placing some type of condition on the use of the allotment. Footnotes 1, 3, 4, and 5 all reflected allotments that were no longer available for use, caused either directly or indirectly by the reservation of certain TV channels for land mobile radio use in certain large cities. Footnote 2 reflected an allotment with restrictions placed on it in exchange for relocation of the allotment. Footnote 6 reflected short-spaced allotments that had certain restrictions to protect other stations, as well as possible issues due to on-going international coordination.

Second, there are superscript letters. These are all flags that I have set to indicate errors in the table of allotments found in the rules. With the exception of the "r" flag, which indicates entirely fictitious allotments which appear in the official rules, every other flagged allotment shown on RabbitEars is corrected. The description describes what error you would find if you looked up the table in the official rules.

Table, List, and Changed Allotments

Choosing the option for only "Valid" allotments will suppress the display of any fictitious allotments that are flagged with the "r" superscript. Once a table is showing with any of the options selected, the date links at the top will preserve your selections as you move forward and backward in time.

The table, list, and changed allotment views are sorted by state and then city, and attempt to generally mimic the appearance of the official FCC table of allotments. However, please note that the state sort is not strictly in alphabetical order; the database stores the states by their abbreviation and it is sorted by that abbreviation. Therefore, as an example, Alaska (AK) comes before Alabama (AL), even though by full name, it should be the opposite.

Map Notes

Map icons are placed on the community of license, not on the transmitter sites. Transmitter location information is not contained in the official table of allotments, and thus is not included here. The coordinates for a given community of license are determined from a database of place names which have been filtered to remove duplicates within a state. Should you find a duplicate that has been overlooked, please contact me.

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