LPTV Coalition Vows Legal Problems for Repack

The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition has declared legal war on the FCC's post broadcast incentive auction repack.

"Bring on the Legal Cases," said the coalition in an email Friday rallying the troops.

LPTV stations were not allowed to participate in the auction—outside of Class A stations with protections similar to full powers—nor were the translators that extend the reach of TV station signals.

The coalition, whose members comprise holders of LPTV and translator licenses, was reacting to the FCC's April 13 announcement of the new channel positions for stations in the post-incentive auction repack, the official end of the auction and the official beginning of that move of 957 stations to new channels, some displacing unprotected LPTVs and translators. 

"For 5 years we have kept our powder dry, and have not been in the courts. We knew we could not win those cases, and did not even try," said coalition director Mike Gravino. "But the repack is different." 

Gravino signaled the coalition would use whatever means necessary

"Frak the FCC, frak Congress, frak the primaries, frak the regulatory class, and frak the winning bidders," he said.

There will be a Repack Rally April 23 in Las Vegas, where the National Association of Broadcasters is holding its annual convention. The FCC signaled the NAB Show would be an opportunity for broadcasters to compare notes on the repack, but the notes the coalition is sounding are definitely a bugle call to action. "Resist the Repack," the coalition said in the email. 

"[I]f we can now slow down, even a week here, a month there, a court case six months over there, then we will be winning, and making them all suffer monetary damages, as they have and are creating for us," Gravino wrote. "For five years they have laughed at us and said we were secondary and to shut up. And now it is time for payback," he wrote.

(Photo via Tori Rector's FlickrImage taken on July 21, 2016 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)

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.