FCC Adopts List of TV Auction Moving Expenses

The FCC's Media Bureau Friday released the list of approved moving expenses it will compensate TV broadcasters for in the repack of stations following the incentive auction.

Congress gave the FCC $1.75 billion to cover those expenses.

The bureau also released the form broadcasters can use to money from the FCC (the Treasury, actually) for those expenses.

 Cable operators can also get money for the costs of retuning their headends to carry stations moving to new channels.

The money will be available for broadcasters and cable operators to draw on as the expenses occur, so they will not have to front the payment and get it on the back end. It will come from the FCC's payment system, rather than through the Treasury's, as the FCC initially proposed.

Broadcasters will have to be filing for money throughout the process, and have the receipts to back up the requests. 

"[A] broadcaster or MVPD will have to submit information on the Reimbursement Form each time it makes a request for reimbursement from the Fund, not only at the beginning and end of the reimbursement period," the bureau said. "Actual cost documentation showing the entity incurred an expense associated with channel reassignment must accompany every reimbursement request."

The bureau said it would keep the information confidential.

"We conclude that the cost documentation submitted by entities seeking reimbursement for actual costs (for example, invoices), as well as the name, address, and other identifying information pertaining to the vendor providing equipment or service to a specific broadcaster or MVPD, will not be made publicly available."

But the FCC did signal it would publish how much each station was getting.

The FCC is submitting the form to the Office of Management and Budget per the paperwork reduction act.

Broadcaster comments mostly came in the form of additional covered expenses to add. The FCC said in some cases it did modify its initial proposed list of expenses to add equipment.

The list is a catalog of expense for relocation that broadcasters and MVPDs will "most commonly" incur.

But as the FCC has said all along, it is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a guide. Which means it will have the flexibility to add expenses if need be.

To that end, said the Media Bureau, "the Reimbursement Form includes a catch-all entry (labeled “other”) within each cost category which will allow applicants to submit other expenses not specifically listed in the catalog.  

To check out the list of covered expenses, go here (https://www.fcc.gov/article/da-15-1238a2).

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.