FAB Telemedia Launches Latest Attack on Spectrum Auction

Low power TV station owner and affiliated parties have filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit taking aim at the fact that most LPTVs are not protected in the repack--they can be displace, and may not have a new channel assignment.

It is the second challenge to the auction by Free Access & Broadcast Telemedia, which is trying to get the same court to review and reverse a decision denying FAB standing to challenge the auction.

The court did not get to FAB's arguments about the auction in denying standing. FAB is looking for a better result this time around.

The same court has yet to rule on a challenge it heard (from Mako) at the same time as FAB's first suit.

In its brief, FAB, joined by Word of God Fellowship, Grace Worship Center and EICB-TV East and West LLC, call the FCC's approach to the auction, and failure to protect LPTVs in the repack, a "cruel and arbitrary FCC game of spectrum musical chairs."

They argue the FCC's efforts to mitigate the impact of the auction on LPTVs does "nothing."

FAB also says the FCC auction framework was illegal because it 1) ignores Congress' "command" not to alter LPTV's spectrum usage rights, 2) asserts that channel sharing may help LPTV stations has no basis in fact or analysis or even reasoned projections, 3) fails to gauge the economic impact of the auction rules on LPTVs as small business entities; and 4) was arbitrary and capricious in that LPTVs have to stop broadcasting when wireless carriers begin operating whether or not an LPTV would interfere or even if the wireless spectrum is ever used.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.