FCC Partially Lifts Filing Freeze for Class A, LPTV and TV Translator Stations

Posted on May 30th, 2024 by

On May 28, 2024, the FCC’s Media Bureau announced that beginning August 20, 2024, the current 14-year freeze on major modification applications by Class A television, low power television and television translator stations will be partially lifted to allow those stations to file channel change applications. Geographic changes greater than 30 miles will not be allowed until a future date.

The filing opportunity will allow stations that have not had an opportunity to change channels since prior to the Incentive Auction the ability to resolve viewer reception issues that cannot be resolved through means other than a channel change.  It will also allow stations to improve television service to existing viewers prior to providing an opportunity for other major modifications, such as moving greater than 30 miles, or allowing interested parties to apply for new stations.

Channel change applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be “cut off” daily for purposes of determining mutual exclusivity.  If two applications conflict with each other, applicants will be given an opportunity to resolve the conflict through settlement or engineering amendments during a specified filing window.  Submitted applications with errors will have a one-time 30-day opportunity to amend, so long as new application conflicts are not created.  Any application that fails to come into compliance will be dismissed.

Interested stations can begin working on channel change modification applications now in the FCC’s Licensing Management System. Engineering consultants should be retained now to ensure that desired channel change application technical portions can be accurately and timely completed. A major change filing fee of $4,755 for Class A television channel changes, and $865 for LPTV and TV translator stations will apply.  Applications filed will have to use the 2020 census numbers to compute interference, per a separately issued notice announcing that all applications filed on or after August 1, 2024 will be required to use the 2020 census numbers.