The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have released a Public Notice which includes a new post-transition repack progress status report form (Schedule 387) for those stations entitled to station repack reimbursements after the conclusion of the TV broadcast incentive auction. The new progress reports will require stations to regularly update the FCC on the steps they are making towards completing the construction of their post-auction facilities. The Public Notice also seeks comment on the FCC’s tentative conclusion that certain stations not entitled to reimbursement for repack expenses should also be required to file transition progress reports. Comments on the FCC’s proposals are due by January 25, 2017, with reply comments due by February 6, 2017.
Stations Eligible for Reimbursement
The Public Notice provides new information for those stations eligible for reimbursement from the 1.75 billion dollar “Reimbursement Fund” for relocation costs incurred during the 39-month post-incentive auction transition period. Specifically, the Public Notice states that “Reimbursable Stations” are those full-power and Class A Television stations which have been involuntarily assigned to a new channel as part of the post-auction repacking process. These stations will be required to file transition progress reports with the FCC via its electronic filing system on Form 2100 and new Schedule 387 to update the FCC on the progress of a station’s post-auction transition.
Reimbursable Stations will have to file progress reports on a quarterly basis, beginning with the first quarter after the FCC releases its Closing and Reassignment Public Notice announcing the results of the repacking process and providing new station channel assignments. Stations will have to respond to a series of questions to provide information regarding the steps they have taken to complete construction of their post-auction facilities. A representative model of the new Schedule 387 and the information to be provided in the new form is attached to the Public Notice as Appendix A.
In addition to the required quarterly reports, Reimbursable Stations must also file progress reports during the following intervals: (i) 10 weeks before the end of their assigned construction deadline; (ii) 10 days after they complete construction of their post-auction facilities; and (iii) five days after they cease operations on their pre-auction channel.
The FCC seeks comment on its tentative conclusion to also apply the post-transition progress reporting requirements to “Non-Reimbursable” stations. Non-Reimbursable Stations include full-power and Class A stations that: accepted a bid to go off-air; accepted a bid to move to a low or high VHF channel; elected to forego reimbursement funds in exchange for the right to provide services other than broadcast services; and a small number of displaced Class A stations that the FCC hasdetermined are not eligible for reimbursement of their relocation costs. According to the Public Notice, unless Non-Reimbursable Stations are required to update the FCC at regular intervals, the FCC will be unable to adequately assess the progress of all stations during the 39-month post-auction transition period.
If you have any questions regarding when or how the progress reports must be filed with the FCC, or wish to file comments in the proceeding, please contact any attorney in our office.