FCC Provides Pointers On Getting Repack Bucks

Having recently announced that the first tranche of TV station repack funding was available, the FCC has posted an online tutorial to help TV stations apply to get their money.

The FCC has $1.75 billion in funds to reimburse TV stations--and some cable operators--for the cost of moving to new channels following the incentive auction.

Actually, an FCC spokesperson confirmed the commission has already received some applications and has even started sending money out the door.

But for those who have yet to make the requests, the FCC wants to provide guidance on documenting actual costs and uploading invoices.

The FCC announced last month it is giving TV stations and MPVDs $1 billion to cover initial expenses in the repacking of close to 1,000 TV stations following the incentive auction, which is less than broadcasters wanted but the FCC says should cover what they need to get going.

Related: FCC Allocates $1 Billion in Initial Repack Funding

The initial broadcaster cost estimates for what they would need over the entire life of the channel moves was $2.139 billion, but the FCC was able to reduce that to $1.864 billion (still above the $1.75 billion Congress has allocated), though that will likely increase due to added costs, like tower rigging, broadcasters did not include but the FCC is figuring will be needed.

Most of the repack money goes to broadcasters, though MVPDs will need some for re-tuning head-ends to pick up the new channel moves.

The $2.139 billion figure is a new one. The initial broadcaster estimate total by the July 12 deadline had been $2.115 billion, but a few more estimates came in after deadline.

The FCC will be giving broadcasters and MVPDs 52% of their total estimates in the $1 billion first disbursement, while noncoms will get 62% due to their unique funding challenges. NAB had wanted closer to 80% for commercial stations and 90% for noncoms.

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.