FCC Adopts Report & Order on Reimbursement of Expenses for LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Stations Affected by Repacking Process

The FCC has adopted rules with respect to reimbursement of certain costs incurred by LPTV, TV translator, and FM stations affected by the broadcast television repacking process. Under the newly-adopted rules, these costs are subject to potential reimbursement if “reasonably incurred” by an eligible entity.

The eligibility criteria are:

LPTV and TV Translator Station Criteria

  • Station must have received a construction permit from an application filed in the Special Displacement Window that closed June 1, 2018. Stations that were subject to displacement and filed before the window opened are also eligible.
  • Station must have been operating (at least two hours per day and 28 hours per week) pursuant to a license for at least nine of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017.
  • Analog-to-digital replacement translators that meet the above criteria are also eligible. Digital-to-digital replacement translators are not eligible.

FM Station Criteria

  • Full power FM stations, low power FM stations and FM translator stations are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Station must have been licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017 using technical facilities that are impacted by a repacked television station.
  • Stations that are forced to permanently relocate, to temporarily dismantle equipment or to temporarily reduce power or cease transmission on their main facility to accommodate tower work are eligible.

Eligible Costs

  • Eligible stations may seek reimbursement for costs “reasonably incurred” as a result of displacement. This would include equipment and other expenses incurred to build facilities authorized by their displacement applications.
  • Costs for full service mask filters, translator microwave/STL facilities and costs incurred due to modifications made by full power and Class A stations during the filing windows for alternate channels and maximized facilities are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Costs for equipment, as well as legal and engineering fees are reimbursable.
  • Costs for lost revenues, expenses incurred to resolve mutually exclusive applications and costs that have been reimbursed elsewhere are not eligible for reimbursement.

Reimbursement Process and Cost Catalog

The reimbursement process will be similar to the process that full power and Class A television stations are currently using to receive government funds for repack expenditures. The FCC has released a Cost Catalog that is tailored to the equipment and services most likely to be used or purchased by LPTV, TV Translator and FM stations as a result of broadcaster repacking. It reflects predetermined costs or cost ranges for stations to use as estimates when they do not have quotes from vendors. These price ranges are considered “acceptable price ranges” and therefore cost justification will not be needed when requesting reimbursement for expenses within the ranges. The FCC’s Reimbursement Form for LPTV, TV Translator and FM stations has yet to be released.

If you have any questions regarding the reimbursement process, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media