FCC Outlines Next Repack Steps for LPTVs

The FCC has released guidance for low-power TV and translator stations in the post-incentive auction repack, in which they are not protected from displacement by full-power stations.

The repack period began April 13, with the FCC's release of the final auction public notice.

The guidance (and "clarity") is intended to give those licenses as much information and notice on what is happening when and how the FCC will resolve issues like mutually exclusive applications and the "pecking order" of applications. For example, digital-to-digital replacement translators getting priority in those mutually exclusive applications. 

The FCC is also encouraging stations who have options short of seeking new channels, like accepting more interference or making modifications to address that interference, to come in as soon as possible.

An FCC spokesman pointed out that the industry was looking for more info and clarity, and that was the reasoning behind the guidance.

The FCC guidance includes "(1) the special filing window for operating LPTV/translator stations that are subject to displacement as a result of the incentive auction and repacking process, including the Bureau’s release of data on channel availability in advance of the window; (2) the displacement process for LPTV/translator stations; (3) LPTV and TV translator station channel sharing; (4) the procedures to apply for new digital-to-digital replacement translator stations (DTDRTs); (5) the final digital transition date for LPTV and TV translator stations [July 13, 2021]; and (6) the lifting of the freeze on the filing of displacement applications and applications for digital companion channels."

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.