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Citing Pandemic, FCC Grants WFOX-TV Extension of Repack Deadline

(Image credit: Future Media)

The FCC has given WFOX-TV Jacksonville, Fla., an extra two months--until Sept. 8--to move to its new post-incentive auction channel, and signaled there may be some more such extensions.

The 10-phase repack ends July 3--and the entire transition end date is July 13--but the FCC said that due to circumstances beyond its control--construction delays--the station would need more time and that it made no sense to force it off the air "depriving its viewers of the station’s programming during a national emergency."

The FCC said that allowing the extra time would not affect any other station and that since its channel was above channel 37 it would not impact wireless broadband operations setting up shop in broadcasters' former spectrum digs.

The FCC says that a little short of 100 stations have yet to make the transition (of 987 having to do so), and that it anticipated "a few"  more "short extensions" for similar unforseen circumstances.

Related: End of Incentive Auction Repack Fast Approaching

Incentive Auction Task Force Chair Jean Kiddoo took the opportunity of the extension grant to give a shout out to the work of all involved. 

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of broadcasters, tower crews, and the wireless industry over the past three years, over 90% of 987 affected television stations have already vacated their pre-auction channels, and wireless services, including 5G, are currently being delivered throughout the United States over the 600 MHz band,” said Kiddoo. “Indeed, even during a global pandemic that caused some temporary work stoppages over the last few months, many TV stations have been able to successfully meet their transition deadlines, and we anticipate that the vast majority of remaining television stations will meet their July 3 deadline.” 

"Ninety-four stations continue to operate on their pre-auction channel, including 22 in the 600 MHz band. All of those stations are subject to the phase completion date of 11:59 P.M. on July 3, 2020. Furthermore, repacked stations are not permitted to operate on their pre-auction channel after the end of the post-auction transition period, which is scheduled to conclude on July 13, 2020."