Media Bureau Designates May 29, 2015 Pre-auction Licensing Deadline for Full Power and Class A TV Facilities

The FCC Media Bureau released a Public Notice designating May 29, 2015 as the “Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline” by which full power and Class A television facilities must be licensed (or have completed any authorized changes in facilities and have filed a license application) in order to be entitled to contour protection during the repacking process that will follow the completion of the broadcast television incentive auction.

The Federal statute that establishes the Incentive Auction stated that those full power and Class A TV facilities that were licensed as of February 22, 2012, are entitled to mandatory service area protection in the repacking process. For certain categories of facilities that were not licensed as of February 22, 2012, the Commission extended discretionary protection, but required that these facilities be licensed by the Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline.

Discretionary Protection Categories: All of the facilities in the discretionary protection categories below (except for stations affected by the destruction of the World Trade Center) must be licensed or have an application for a license to cover the construction permit on file by May 29, 2015 to be protected to the extent of their “licensed” contours during the repacking process:

(1) Full power facilities authorized in outstanding construction permits issued to effectuate a channel substitution for a licensed station. This includes construction permits for stations seeking to relocate from channel 51 pursuant to voluntary relocation agreements with Lower 700 MHz A Block licensees.

(2) Modified facilities of full power and Class A stations that were authorized by construction permits granted on or before April 5, 2013, the date of the Media Bureau’s Freeze Public Notice, or that have been authorized by construction permits that were granted after April 5, 2013 and are in Compliance with the Freeze Public Notice.

(3) Class A stations’ initial digital facilities that were not initially licensed until after February 22, 2012, including those that were not authorized until after the Freeze Public Notice.

Modifications: The Commission’s Public Notice states that this is the last opportunity before the Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline for all full power and Class A licensees to modify their licenses to fix operating parameter errors and have those modifications protected in the repacking process. Such modifications will be protected as long as the modification application complies with the Freeze Public Notice, the facilities have been constructed as proposed in the modification application, and a license to cover the modified facilities has been submitted by May 29, 2015.

Class A Stations: The Commission emphasizes that in order for a Class A digital facility to be afforded protection in the repacking process, it must be licensed by the Pre-Auction Deadline. The Commission also states that while Class A licensees may wait until the September 1, 2015 digital transition deadline to complete construction and licensing of their digital facilities, those that do not have their digital facilitates licensed by May 29, 2015 will be afforded protection based only on the coverage area and population served by their analog facilities, consistent with the Incentive Auction Report and Order.

Subsequent to the May 29, 2015 deadline, the Commission plans to release a public notice listing the facilities licensed by the Pre-Auction Deadline which will be deemed eligible for protection in repacking or relinquishment in the incentive auction.

If you have any questions about the May 29, 2015 Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline, please contact any attorney in our office.

Categories: Media