FCC Circulating LPTV Public Notice and Rulemaking

Posted on September 22nd, 2014 by

On the FCC’s website, there is a little icon identified as “Items On Circulation”. When you click on it, a list of various matters, by Bureau, are listed as being on circulation. We know our readers are curious, so what exactly does “on circulation” mean? It means that a Bureau’s staff has completed an initial draft of a rulemaking or decision and that the FCC Chairman has directed that the draft be “circulated” among the Commissioners for comment. The various Commissioners’ staffs then provide comment and suggested edits, and the Chairman decides whether to include them. Once that process is complete, the Chairman then decides whether to place the item on the agenda for a Commission meeting, or if there is a consensus, whether to move forward with releasing the item between meetings.

We routinely “spy” on the “Items on Circulation” list to see what’s on the horizon, which can sometimes make us appear clairvoyant to our clients. Our most recent check produced two items of great interest to LPTV license or permit holders. The first is a proposal to suspend all expiration dates and construction deadlines for LPTV digital construction permits. It appears to be in the form of a public notice, as opposed to a rulemaking. The other LPTV item is a proposed rulemaking considering revisions to the current LPTV rules pursuant to the FCC’s Incentive Auction Report & Order. This proceeding will likely consider displacement solutions for LPTV stations that must cease operation because of the auction or repacking.

The rulemaking could make an appearance on the Commission’s September 30th meeting agenda. If not, it will likely show up in October. The public notice could come at any time.