LPTV Preservation Steps

Posted on December 31st, 2015 by

The FCC has unanimously adopted a number of measures to help LPTV and TV translator stations continue to operate after the TV Incentive Auction. Acknowledging that many LPTV and TV translator stations will be displaced by the repacking and reallocation of the television bands after the auction, the FCC permitted channel sharing among LPTV and TV translator stations, extended the deadline for digital transition to 12 months after the 39-month post-incentive auction transition final deadline, and offered assistance for finding new channels for displaced stations.

In the same proceeding, the FCC adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking that among other things, tentatively decides that channel sharing between primary (full power and Class A) and secondary (LPTV) stations should be allowed. That’s potentially beneficial in the long run for LPTV stations that may not be able to find a displacement channel post-auction, especially given that a channel share arrangement could use a small portion of the “sharer” station’s spectrum and get much wider over-the-air coverage. But the FCC has yet to go the distance on this issue, so we’ll have to wait for the outcome of the further rulemaking, which it says will be decided in a single channel sharing decision that includes full-power and Class A sharing issues.

The extent of the incentive auction’s negative impact on LPTV stations won’t be fully known until the auction is complete, but stations in or near more populated areas could face an uphill climb to remain on air. To read the entire order adopted by the FCC, an action we recommend, you can find it here.