At its March 15 meeting, the FCC is scheduled to consider two items dealing with broadcasters, according to a blog post authored by Chairman Pai published yesterday. The first item to be considered deals with LPTV stations and TV translators, as well FM broadcasters – setting out the rules for reimbursement to be paid to these stations for costs they incurred due to the repacking of the television spectrum following the TV incentive auction. Our summary of the initial proposal released last year is available here. That proposal has been somewhat controversial particularly in its treatment of FM broadcasters where the full costs incurred by an FM due to the repacking would not be paid, particularly for stations that had to make only short-term moves. We would expect the draft order to be released later today, and will add a link here when that proposed order is released (Update, 2/22/2019 – the draft order is now available here).
The second item is far less controversial. As part of its Modernization of Media Regulation initiative, the FCC is planning on adopting rules that would allow for the sale of satellite television stations (stations that serve principally rural areas primarily by rebroadcasting some or all of another station in the market) without an extensive economic showing of the continuing need for satellite operation. Instead, when evaluating a sale, the FCC proposed to essentially assume that the need for a combined operation continues to exist unless there is a showing to the contrary demonstrating that the satellite could operate independently. See our summary of the initial proposal here. Again, the draft order to be considered at the March 15 meeting should be released later today, and we will add a link here when that order is available (Update, 2/22/2019, the draft order is now available here). Watch for consideration of these orders at the March 15 meeting.