FCC Eases Satellite TV Reauthorizations

The FCC has voted to streamline the process of assigning or transferring the license of a satellite TV station.

Those are full power stations that retransmit some or all the signals of a parent station.

Before the FCC action Tuesday (March 12), if a satellite station were transferred to another owner who also wanted to use is as a satellite--which are exempt from local TV ownership limits--the new owner had to seek a new authorization, which required the same evidentiary showing as for an initial authorization.

Under the streamlined process, the new owners must "1) certify that the underlying circumstances supporting the satellite’s existing authorization have not materially changed, and (2) provide a copy of the most recent written Commission decision granting the existing satellite authorization." There will still be a chance for opponents, if any, to challenge the transfer.

"Today’s action reduces the costs and burdens of this reauthorization process by permitting assignment and transfer applicants to use streamlined procedures when there has been no material change in the underlying circumstances supporting the satellite station’s existing authorization," the FCC said. 

The noncontroversial item--the vote was unanimous--had been on the FCC agenda for its March 15 open meeting, but was voted early by the commissioners and is now a done deal. 

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.