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Sports Blackout Rule Vote on FCC Sept. 30 Agenda

The FCC has released its agenda for the Sept. 30 public meeting and a vote on eliminating the sports blackout rules as well as a number of incentive auction items are teed up.

The FCC commissioners have already voted unanimously to propose eliminating the sports blackout rules, so the item is expected to pass.

Also on the list are votes on protecting TV station coverage areas, revising the rules for unlicensed use of the TV band and wireless microphone spectrum sharing.

The coverage area item is a declaratory ruling that the FCC "intends to make all reasonable efforts to preserve both the 'coverage area' and 'population served' of eligible broadcast television stations in the repacking process associated with the Incentive Auction." The FCC is already under directions from Congress to make its best efforts to protect those coverage areas.

The National Association of Broadcasters has sued the FCC over its framework for calculating coverage areas and interference, saying it is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act."

NAB's primary beef is with how the FCC is proposing to predict TV station coverage areas, which it says could result in significant viewership loss. The NAB says that the FCC changed the methodology (the OET-69 bulletin) in contravention of the statute.