A television station is a commercial business or organization that transmits their signals directly to television receivers (TV sets). It usually has a studio for making TV shows. Television transmissions can be broadcast using analog television signals or digital television signals. Broadcast television standards are set by the government. These standards vary around the world. Analog television stations usually broadcast their signals on one television channel. Digital television stations broadcast their signals over one or more subchannels.
The term "television stations" is normally applied to earth-based television stations and not to cable television or satellite television broadcasting. Television stations usually require a broadcast license from a government agency. That agency sets the rules which television stations must follow. In the United States, for example, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses television channels.
In the United States, stations are normally either "affiliates" or "independants". Affiliates are stations that are a part of a network. Most networks are nation-wide. Affiliates get much of the programs that they broadcast from the network. It is common for affiliates to broadcast the programs it gets from the network during the primetime hours of 8pm to 11pm and broadcast syndicated or local programing during the rest of the day. Local programing often includes local news, weather and traffic reports. Independant station are not a part of a larger network. They normally provide locally created or syndicated programs and movies.
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- Roger L. Sadler, Electronic Media Law (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005), p. 95
- Encyclopedia of Television, Second Edition, Vol. 1, ed. Horace Newcomb (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004), p. 73