House Republicans: Auction Success Means Saving LPTVs

A quartet of Republican House members has asked FCC chairman Tom Wheeler for a status report on low power TV and translator stations and how the broadcast incentive auction will affect them.

They tell Wheeler that the definition of a successful auction must include accommodating those stations and the communities they serve.

Signing on to the letter were Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

"We are concerned that following the FCC's broadcast incentive auction there may not be sufficient spectrum to accommodate LPTV stations and translators, potentially forcing them to cease operations."

They have reason to worry. Other than Class A stations, low powers are not protected in the incentive auction and can be moved or forced to go dark in the repack of stations in more limited spectrum space after that auction.

The legislators want to hear from Wheeler by Nov. 18 on the following:

1. A detailed report on the status of its open rulemaking on ways to mitigate the impact on LPTVs of the auction and repack.

2. Analysis and studies conducted by either the FCC or outside parties on the impact of clearing 126 MHz on LPTVs in all markets.

3. Any information on alternate clearing scenarios for the auction—anywhere from 94 MHz to 132 MHz.

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.