LPTV Stations and TV Translators Must Be Operating to Participate in Post-Auction Displacement Filing Window

The FCC has previously stated that it will offer an opportunity for LPTV stations and TV translators displaced by the Broadcast Incentive Auction to file displacement applications. Now the FCC has released a Public Notice explaining that for LPTV stations and TV translators to participate in the special displacement application filing window that the FCC will open after completion of the Broadcast Incentive Auction, the stations must be “operating” at the time the FCC releases its Channel Reassignment Public Notice. To be considered “operating,” an LPTV or TV translator station must have “licensed its authorized construction permit facilities or ha[ve] an application for a license to cover on file with the Commission” when the FCC releases the Channel Reassignment Public Notice. Permittees of LPTV and TV translators that are not operating when the Channel Reassignment Public Notice is released will have to wait until after the special displacement window to file a displacement application.

Because of uncertainty about when the auction will end, the FCC is not able to provide an exact date for when the Channel Reassignment Public Notice will be released. But the release date is likely to be before the end of 2016. The Channel Reassignment Public Notice will only be released after both the reverse and forward auctions have been completed and the FCC’s final stage rule has been satisfied, meaning that the proceeds of the forward auction are sufficient to satisfy the funds needed for the stations “purchased” during the reverse auction at the final spectrum clearing target, and to fund the $1.75 billion for reimbursement of repacking expenses.

The stated goal of the Public Notice is to give LPTV and TV translator station permittees sufficient warning of the upcoming release of the Channel Reassignment Public Notice so that they can complete construction and license their permitted facilities.

We will continue to monitor this matter and will provide further guidance when additional information becomes available from the FCC. If you have any questions, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media