FCC Freezes Minor LPTV Changes

Appropriate to the sub-freezing temperatures in the area, the FCC has frozen filings of minor change applications for low power and translator TV stations.

That is because the FCC is preparing to open the displacement window through which low powers and translators being displaced in the post incentive auction repack can apply for new channels, of which there will be a limited number.

Since even minor changes could impact what spectrum space will be available, the FCC's Media Bureau has frozen new applications for minor changes, though it will process those already in the pipeline.

The commission will entertain waivers on a case-by-case basis where there is a good cause showing of a public interest reason, say, maintaining quality TV service.

Because the move is procedural, the FCC's Media Bureau did not put it out for comment and will not delay the effect of the freeze until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, saying that would be impractical since time is of the essence and delay would undercut the purpose of the freeze.

Close to a thousand TV stations are being moved to new channels as part of the post-auction process, LPTVs and translators were not protected in the repack and can be displaced to make room for full-powers.

Related: FCC Allocates $1 Billion in Initial Repack Funding

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.