FCC to Court, FAB Et Al. Not Eligible for Stay

The FCC has told a Federal Court it does not have the power to grant a stay to LPTV petitioners seeking to delay the start of the FCC auction.

In the latest of three such stay requests, the FCC said that Free Access & Broadcast Telemedia, LLC (FAB), Word of God Fellowship, Inc. and Mako Communications, LLC, had no standing to seek the stay, and even if they did "have not come close to satisfying the stringent requirements for a stay pending review."

The FCC said, as it has said of the other two stay requests, that the petitioners have not shown the likelihood of winning, or that they would be irreparably harmed, but that, in turn, a stay would harm other parties and the public interest in a successful spectrum auction.

On March 10, the three joined the parade marching to federal court asking the FCC to delay the March 29 launch of the auction.

The FCC told the court Tuesday (March 15) that FAB is not eligible to seek a stay because it is an investor, rather than a licensee, of an LPTV. It said Word of God is Ineligible, as it has conceded itself, because it did not participate in the proceedings before the FCC; and Mako only challenged the FCC's reconsideration order, not the order's treatment of LPTV's.

The Court is already considering the stay requests of Videohouse and Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach, two other LPTV's seeking either to get in the auction or for the FCC to delay it.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit gave the FCC until March 15 at 4 p.m. to respond to FAB et al. FAB has  until 4 p.m. March 16 to respond to the FCC. The court has already received briefs from Videohouse, Latina, and now three from the FCC responding to each.

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.