FCC Releases Update of Methodology for Repacking TV Stations

The FCC has released an updated version of the Longley-Rice
model and TVStudy software it will use to calculate TV station coverage areas
and interference as it repacks TV stations into smaller spectrum quarters after
the FCC's incentive auctions.

first reported by TV Technology's
Deborah McAdams,
that notice came in a bulletin from the Office of
Engineering and Technology (OET).

Broadcasters have said they would need to see that
calculation and kick the tires on that software before they decide whether to
participate in the auction or to gauge how harmless the FCC process will hold
broadcasters who remain on the air after the auction.

The FCC sounds like it wants plenty of tire-kicking as well.
OET says in the notice that it wants comments on "any errors, unexpected
behaviors or anomalous results produced in running the software."

The National Association of Broadcasters was not celebrating.

"NAB is committed to working with the FCC to ensure a successful incentive auction, but we are extremely concerned about the Public Notice," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. "This proposal introduces a new level of legal uncertainty as well as confusion about coverage areas and populations served by local television stations. We'll be engaged with the Commission, Congress and other stakeholders to ensure that this proposal doesn't distract or unnecessarily delay the task at hand."

The FCC has given commenters until March 21 to weigh in.
Reply comments are due April 5.

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.