Had a reader email me this question, so I thought I'd throw it out for discussion.
"How come Green Bay is not getting any new sub-channels?"
My (uneducated) guess? Money. It's likely not financially advantageous right now to put new channels on the air, given the economy and the state of advertising supported media. There's technical costs, programming costs (they ain't free!) and likely some personnel costs as well. There's also only a handful of options out there for programming feeds, and they may have different possibilities built-in to each programmer's contracts. I seem to remember one of the reasons WBAY switched to Living Well vs something else was the fact that they allowed a certain amount of local preemption, whereas others are pretty inflexible. Though there's a few broadcasters up here that don't have subchannels and seemingly the spectrum real estate to take on another 1-2 channels (LIN being the roomiest with WLUK and WCWF in their fold), some chief engineers may buck the prospect because it does cut into the bandwidth of the main channel. Not sure how much it degrades the main channel, as I think WBAY 2-1 and WPNE 38-1 both look good with 2 subs apiece, but it's a consideration. It also seems that subchannels are picked up by station groups across many stations at a time, so it's probably a matter of whether LIN or Nexstar sign deals that fit their local stations. Not sure, but LIN may have stations in some markets that carry subchannels that another station already has in this market. There's all sorts of reasons why we've stagnated at the number we have, but I'm hopeful we'll see new stuff soon, as a cord-cutter who's been without cable (not by choice) for a while now.