LPTV Displacement Reimbursement Draft Order Released

Posted on February 28th, 2019 by

For LPTV and TV translator stations displaced by the post-auction repack of television stations between channels 2 and 36, answers to questions about reimbursement of displacement expenses are right around the corner. The FCC has released a draft order setting forth who will be reimbursed and what expenses are reimbursable. A vote of approval is expected at the Commission’s scheduled March 2019 meeting.

The draft order tracks pretty closely to the proposed rulemaking, with the FCC set to adopt most of its tentative conclusions from the rulemaking. Among other things, the draft order concludes that (i) LPTV/translator stations are eligible for reimbursement if they filed an application during the Commission’s Special Displacement Window, obtained a construction permit, and were licensed and transmitting for at least 9 of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017; (ii) the FCC will reimburse LPTV/translator stations for their reasonable costs to construct the facilities authorized by the grant of the station’s Special Displacement Window application; (iii) full power and low power FM stations and FM translators that were licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017, using the facilities impacted by the repacked television station are eligible for reimbursement for costs incurred to permanently relocate, temporarily or permanently modify their facilities, or purchase or modify auxiliary facilities to provide service during a period of time when construction work is occurring on a collocated, adjacent, or nearby repacked television station’s facilities; and (iv) there will be no reimbursement of LPTV/translator or FM stations for costs for which reimbursement funding has been received from other sources.

The draft order also includes provisions that will require LPTV/translator and FM stations seeking reimbursement to file with the Commission one or more forms certifying that they meet the eligibility criteria established for reimbursement, providing information regarding their current broadcasting equipment, and an estimate of their costs eligible for reimbursement. Following that, the Media Bureau will provide a station with an allocation of funds to be available for draw down as the entities incur expenses.

Once adopted, we expect the Bureau staff to quickly implement the order’s reimbursement procedures so that cost estimates can be submitted and funds allocated. The actual process of expense approval and funds transfer does take time and patience, though and delays are often encountered. Stations submitting invoices for payment must ensure that the invoices themselves include (i) the name of the vendor providing the service or equipment, (ii) an invoice number assigned by the vendor, (iii) invoice date, (iv) payment due date, (v) vendor EIN/TIN, (vi) description of service or equipment purchased, (vii) total amount due and (viii) name of the station licensee and call sign or facility identification number.