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Broadcaster Coalition Warns Of TVStudy Problem

Broadcasters interested in putting their spectrum up for auction at the right price say that there is a potential issue with the way the FCC is calculating interference that could artificially decrease the value of stations and could lead to spending funds on relocating stations that might have been able to stay on their channel.

They are urging the FCC to fix the problem before it creates issues.

Broadcasters not interested in selling are also concerned about the FCC's TVStudy software for calculating station interference as the FCC repacks stations into smaller spaces to make room for wireless broadband as well as whether the FCC will have enough money to pay all broadcaster moving expenses out of the $1.75 billion set aside for that purpose.

In a filing at the FCC, the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, which represents 77 stations eyeing the auction, said the use of the TVStudy program was resulting in inconsistent results that could hurt both the incentive auction and station repacking after the auction.

Coalition executive director Preston Padden says in the filing that the FCC's May 2014 revision of TVStudy files has produced distortions in interference results that change a stations interference characteristics "by an implausibly large amount from one channel to the next," a phenomenon he points out the National Association of Broadcasters has documented in a filing last month at the commission.

Padden says the coalition believes part of the problem is the use of minimum effective radiated power levels (ERPs) to reproduce station signal contours and the way the FCC is calculating them based on an actual contour for an existing channel, for replicated contours for all the other channels, a replicated contour that is constrained by minimum power levels.

That, says the coalition, can create artificial distortions that will "both unnecessarily inconvenience broadcasters and result in needless expenditures of TV Broadcaster Relocation Funds."