LPTV and TV translator licensees and applicants saw two notices from the FCC yesterday dealing with fall-out from the FCC’s incentive auction and the subsequent repacking of TV stations into a smaller part of the broadcast spectrum. The first notice announced a settlement window that runs through July 31 for applicants for new or modified LPTV stations or translators that had filed for new channels or new technical facilities because use of their old channels were preempted by the repacking – either because those channels were no longer part of the TV band or because the channels were to be used by some full-power station that was itself repacked. These applications have been pending since an LPTV/TV translator filing window in 2009, and were allowed to amend their applications to address issues caused by the repacking earlier this year. As, in some cases, more than one applicant applied for the same new channel in the same area, those applicants whose displacement applications ended up being mutually exclusive can file to make engineering changes to their applications (including, if no other solutions are possible, changing channels yet again) or to reach other settlements (including channel sharing) to resolve their conflicts. So if your displacement application was on the list of mutually exclusive applications, look to see if you can resolve your issues and file for the necessary FCC approvals by the July 31 deadline.
In addition, LPTV stations and TV translators using channels 38, 44, 45 and 46 were reminded by the FCC in another Public Notice that they need to vacate these channels by July 13. The FCC notes that this is a hard deadline that cannot be waived – so stations operating on these channels must either move to a new channel (getting FCC approval for such a move if they have not already received such approval) or cease operations (and ask for authority to remain silent until they have been able to move to another channel) by the July 31 deadline so that the spectrum is freed up as part of its being repurposed for wireless uses.
As a final matter, these notices came out on the same day that the LPTV community was made aware of the passing of Mike Gravino, who had advocated on its behalf for many years (and often republished our articles on his newsletter). See a press report on his passing here. He was a fixture on the DC regulatory scene for years and will be missed.