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LPTVs, Translators Get More Time to File for Repack Expenses

The FCC has granted LPTV and translator stations extra time to file their repack expense reports. 

The deadline had been :11:59 p.m., Oct. 15, but will now be 11:59 p.m., Nov. 14. The Oct. 15 deadline remains for FM stations. 

The Congress last year expanded and extended repack funds to LPTVs, translators, and FMs to pay for moving expenses related to repacking TV stations following the broadcast incentive auction.  

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Broadcasters have to file a form with the FCC detailing their covered expenses. The FCC voted to allocate $150 million for those expenses. 

Mike Gravino, director of the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition and John Terrill, president of the National Translator Association, had both contacted Jean Kiddoo, the chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force, this week to ask for the extension to come up with those expense reports. The FCC only announced the availability of the form in Mid-August.  

Congress did not initially allocate funds for LPTVs and TV translators, who are not protected from displacement in the repack, and FM stations, some of whom also have expenses because they are co-located on towers with moving TVs. Congress did not take those expenses into account either in the initial auction legislation, confining reimbursements to full-power TVs, class As and MVPDs (for re-tuning headends to capture the frequency changes as broadcasters moved). 

The new money, both more for the original recipients and the new money for LPTVs, translators, and FMs was included in the RAY BAUMS Act. FCC reauthorization legislation passed last year, which freed up as much as a billion more dollars, if/as needed, on top of the $1.75 billion that FCC had concluded would not quite cover it. 

"A big thanks to the FCC for extending the filing deadline for relocation funding. It could assist many of the 1500+ eligible LPTV and TV translator licensees complete their funding requests in a more timely manner," said Gravino. "The initial 60-day deadline was proving to be too quick a process, with many consulting engineers, legal counsel, and equipment vendors not having enough time to assist all that needed help in this unique process.  

"With an extra 30-days to file a much broader participation rate of those which are eligible should lead to a much better outcome for the industry. And since the LPTV and TV translator reimbursement process is not tied to the incentive auction timeline, this extension will not affect that timeline at all."