LPTV Protection From Congress?

Posted on August 1st, 2014 by

In its recent Incentive Auction Report & Order, the FCC interpreted Congress’ Spectrum Act language and concluded that LPTV and TV translator stations were ineligible to participate in the auction, unprotected from interference and subject to displacement in the auction and repacking, and ineligible to receive reimbursement for displacement costs. It’s reasoning? LPTV and TV translator stations are licensed on a secondary basis, and therefore do not meet the Spectrum Act’s requirements.

Congress may have something to say about that interpretation. Rep. Joe Barton has drafted the LPTV and Translator Preservation Act of 2014 in an attempt to preempt the FCC from ignoring the impact of the auction on translators and LPTV stations. The bill seeks to have the FCC avoid the termination of such stations by considering the benefits they provide.

One leading House Democrat has warned that the bill could interfere with the FCC’s auction plans. Republican Rep. Walden, one of the authors of the Spectrum Act, supports the legislation, stating that he doesn’t “want a runaway FCC that simply squishes LPTV and TV translator stations because they can.”