FCC Lifts Freeze on TV Minor Mod Applications and Rulemaking Petitions

Posted on October 30th, 2020 by

Effective 15 days after publication of this Public Notice in the Federal Register, the FCC has announced that it will lift several long-running freezes on certain types of television station applications.  Specifically, the freeze will be lifted on (a) petitions for rulemaking to change channels in the DTV Table of Allotments, (b) petitions for rulemaking for new DTV allotments, (c) petitions to swap in-core channels, (d) petitions for rulemaking to change communities of license, and (e) modification applications that increase a full power or Class A station’s service area beyond an area that is already served.

It is possible that these filings will displace low power and TV translator stations due to their secondary status.  In footnote 4 of the Notice, the FCC notes that such displaced stations will not be eligible for reimbursement for displacements caused by the filing of new applications arising from the freezes being lifted.  By statute, reimbursement from the auction-related TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund for secondary stations includes only station expenses incurred to construct facilities permitted pursuant to applications granted from the April 10 to June 1, 2018 Special Displacement Window and not the construction of any other displacement facilities.  There are currently no freezes on the filing of minor modification, displacement, or digital companion channel applications for low power television and television translator stations.  However, there is currently a freeze on the filing of applications for new LPTV/translator stations. The Media Bureau will keep this freeze in place given the fact that licensed and permitted LPTV/translator stations are still being displaced as a result of modifications by full service stations as they technically adjust to their new repacked channel locations.