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FCC: Dates Loom for TV Station Permits, Reimbursement Forms

The FCC is reminding broadcasters that there are two upcoming dates they need to circle on their calendars. MVPDs need to have their red pens out as well. 

That came in a public notice. July 12 is the deadline for almost 1,000 stations to file their initial applications for the construction permits (CPs) they will need to move channels in the post-incentive auction repack. That is also the deadline for filing their cost estimates of how much they will need to be reimbursed for those moves from the $1.75 billion fund Congress established to compensate broadcasters.

MVPDs can also submit estimates for their costs in re-tuning head-ends to stations that have moved. 

The relative handful of stations that submitted winning auction bids and are moving will not get to dip into those funds. They must use some of that winning payout to cover their expenses.

The FCC is not advancing stations' money but will earmark money from the funds sufficient to cover 80% of commercial broadcasters' estimates and 90% of noncoms' asks from which they can draw down as costs are incurred and receipts submitted. The FCC will fork over the balance—or true up the costs that don't align with the estimates—in a second tranche, and if there is not enough in the fund to do that, will go to Congress to seek additional funds, the FCC has signaled.

But there is an even closer looming deadline. That is June 12, which is when stations that will need extensions for filing those CPs have to file for that extension. The FCC will then vet those requests and let the stations know whether or not they get more time or must file the CPs by July 12 anyway.

Among the stations that may need to seek extensions are ones with financial or legal issues or if their move to a new channel would cause more than the 1% interference to other stations' signals the FCC is allowing in the moves.

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.