The Sneaky Way Broadcasters Are Using TV on the Radio reports that Chicago, for one, has a semi-secret FM station.

TV on the Radio isn’t just the name of a really good band.

It’s also a quirk in the design of analog television, a medium that has largely been usurped by its digital equivalent.

But a funny thing happened on the way to obscurity: As analog TV gave way to digital, a handful of risk-taking broadcasters, sensing an opportunity, have started to run those analog TV stations as FM radio stations—big FCC plans be damned. The shift is surprisingly contentious in the world of broadcast.

And it all comes down to the special superpowers of the VHF-driven channel 6.

If you find your FM radio dial sitting at 87.76 MHz, you’re probably picking up the audio feed of the analog VHF station channel 6. That placement is through sheer happenstance: Channel 6 takes up spectrum between 82.0 through 88.0 MHz.


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