Freeze on LPTV and TV Translator Digital Companion Channels Announced

Posted on January 31st, 2017 by

The day after the final stage rule was met in the TV incentive auction, the FCC announced a freeze on the filing of digital companion channel applications by existing LPTV and TV translator stations. Digital companion channel applications specify a channel for digital operations other than the existing LPTV and TV translator station channel (as opposed to flash-cut channels, which propose “flash-cutting” to digital on the same channel that was licensed for analog).

LPTV and TV translator stations are not protected during the FCC’s repack of TV channels into channels 2-36. But once full power and eligible Class A stations have obtained any required post-auction repack channels, the FCC plans to open a special filing window for LPTV and TV translator stations that will be displaced in the repack to ask for displacement channels. Because the number of channels available to displaced stations will be limited, the FCC’s Media Bureau decided to freeze digital companion channel applications for now since such permits might be displaced anyway and to avoid a rush of applications once the repack plan is published.

LPTV and TV translator stations still operating in analog do not have to transition to digital until 12 months after the 39-month repack plan is completed.