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FCC Says LPTVs Must Email Carriage Elections

The FCC has voted on a report and order (a final decision) to make changes to the carriage election notice rules for low-power TV stations and translators.

It had been scheduled for a vote at the FCC's Feb. 28 meeting, but has now been voted and removed from the agenda. 

The commission has concluded that LPTVs that qualify for must-carry have to send notices to the relevant MVPDs by email if they change their carriage election status, just as the FCC is requiring of full power TVs.

The FCC back in July voted unanimously to allow TV stations to transition their notifications to MVPDs of their carriage election--must-carry or retrans--to email, as well as require them to post them on their public files.

But unlike full powers, those LPTVs and noncommercial educational translator stations that qualify for must-carry don't have to make those carriage elections available for public inspection.

But all qualified LPTVs and NCE translators have to send "a single 'baseline' notice via email to all MVPDs on which they will be seeking carriage in the 2021-2023 carriage cycle, even if they are making no change in their election status."

Those broadcasters must make those email notifications to MVPDs by Oct. 1, 2020, and must make sure that their contact information accurate by July 31. That is because the FCC also said that if an MVPD contacts a station with concerns about carriage, those concerns have to be addressed "as soon as is reasonably possible."