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Senators to FCC: Don't Forget LPTVs, Translators

A bipartisan group of senators has asked new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler consider the value of low-power TV stations and translators to their rurul constituents as the FCC finalizes a plan for incentive auctions and station repacking.

"Countless farmers and ranchers, small businesses and families living in remote areas rely on receiving over-the-air television through translators and low power televisions stations," they wrote to Wheeler.

LPTVS and translators are not eligible to participate in the auction, and do not have any protections for coverage and from interference in station repacking after the auctions, a point they also made in asking the FCC to "to minimize the impacts of repacking spectrum in rural areas following the upcoming incentive spectrum auction."

In the letter, the senators, including John McCain (R-Ariz) and Dean Heller (R- Nev.),  Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), said: "[W]ithout translators and low power television stations, many Americans would be unable to receive the latest news and emergency information, which is critical to their well-being. We look forward to working with the FCC and Congress to preserve translator service during the spectrum auction process."

The LPTV/translator issue is just one facet of a Rubik's cube's worth of elements in the FCC's broadcast incentive auctions.