FCC Sets May 29 Deadline for Auction Signal Protection

The FCC has set May 29, 2015 as the deadline by which full power and Class A low power stations must be licensed in order to be eligible for protection of their signals in the repacking of stations after the incentive auction.

That means anyone with a construction permit (CP) has to have their digital facilities licensed by then or their signal contours will not be protected in the repacking.

Stations still without licenses include full powers substituting channels and CPs for stations voluntarily relocating from ch. 51. They also include full powers and class A's that got CP's before the April 2013 freeze or in the interim.

It will also be the last opportunity for TV stations to modify their licenses to "fix" errors they have made and have those fixes factored into the repacking process.

Class A lower powers don't have to actually build out until the Sept. 1, 2015 digital transition deadline for low powers, but the buildout must be licensed by May 29 or the repacking will be based on their analog coverage areas.

Stations in New York whose facilities were impacted by the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11 are excepted from the deadline.

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.