The Low Power Protection Act (LPPA), which was enacted by Congress earlier this year, will give certain low power television (LPTV) stations the chance to apply for primary spectrum use status as Class A television stations.
The LPPA allows LPTV stations located in Designated Market Areas with fewer than 95,000 television households, and that meet other eligibility criteria, to convert to Class A status. LPTV stations will have one year to convert after the FCC’s rules go into effect. The FCC has tentatively concluded that TV translators will not be eligible for Class A conversion.
The FCC has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks public input on how to implement the LPPA. The FCC seeks comment on its proposal to define eligible stations as those which during the 90-day period between October 7, 2022 and January 5, 2023: (1) broadcast a minimum of 18 hours per day; (2) broadcast an average of at least 3 hours per week of locally produced programming; and (3) were in compliance with the FCC’s requirements for LPTV stations.
Additional questions and proposals the FCC is seeking comment on include: (i) the type of documentation applicants should submit with Class A conversion applications; (ii) alternative eligibility criteria to consider; (iii) that LPTV stations demonstrate compliance with the same rules that apply to existing digital Class A licensees, including interference requirements; and (iv) issues involving the LPPA’s requirements related to the 95,000 household DMA limitation.
Comments are due by May 15, 2023, and reply comments are due by June 13, 2023.
If you have questions about applying for primary spectrum use as a Class A television station, or about the Low Power Protection Act in general, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.