LPTVs Ask FCC to Let Them Apply in Auction

Some low-power stations who were not able to secure Class A licenses before the FCC's cut-off for incentive auction participation want the FCC to let them apply for the auction anyway and have filed an emergency motion for a stay or other relief.

Low powers, unless they achieved Class A status by February 2012, can't put spectrum into the auction and their channels and coverage areas are not protected in the post-auction repack.

Videohouse, Abacus Television, and WMTM LLC say that due to circumstances beyond their control, they did not make that cut-off for Class A and have been shut out of this “once-in-a-lifetime” process.

They have already filed a petition for at the FCC (back in September), and low powers have also filed suit against the auction.

Given that court challenge, and the fact that the FCC has yet to rule on their petition, and with the deadline for applying in the auction Jan. 12, they argue that the FCC should allow them to file by Jan. 12 so as not to miss the deadline in case the FCC decision goes in their favor—unlikely—or they win in court.

Alternately, they want the FCC to extend the deadline for them to participate pending the FCC ruling on their petition for reconsideration or any judicial review of that decision (signaling they will take the FCC to court if the petition is denied).

They said that if the FCC does not act on the emergency petition by Dec. 18, they will consider it has been denied.

The motion comes only days before the FCC is scheduled to vote (Dec. 17) on a proposal to mitigate the impact of the auction on low powers.

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.