WPBF petitioned the FCC and won exclusivity rights against WPLG in Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Greenacres City, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Wellington and West Palm Beach to carry the ABC network.
WPLG was available in those markets on the Comcast system (on channels between 20-30) alongside WPBF but WPBF sought a waiver from the FCC that prevented cable operators from deleting duplicate programming of “significantly viewed” stations. The FCC granted the waiver because no opposition to the petition was received (did any one out there even know of it?) and because it found that WPLG was no longer “significantly viewed” over the air.
According to FCC rules for a TV station be considered significantly viewed it must have 3% share of total weekly viewing hours in the market and 25% net weekly circulation share. Hears-owned WPBF submitted a special Nielsen survey that showed WPLG had 1.861% of total viewing hours and 29.66% net weekly circulation share.
What is baffling to me is that nobody knew of this so that they could comment if they wanted to, and the data they used to decide WPLG over-the-air viewership was sometimes based on as few as 2 households! The most households they sampled were 17 – in West Palm Beach, in 2008