Eight agriculture and conservation organizations tell the FCC that their members “rely heavily on broadcast television for local public affairs programming, news, weather and emergency information” and are concerned that the commission’s upcoming incentive auction may leave them without access to over-the-air television.
Agriculture Community Pulling For LPTVs
Several agriculture and conservation organizations are urging the FCC to hold a public hearing about the impact an incentive auction could have on low-power television stations that provide programming for rural America.
Eight groups, including the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union, expressed their concerns about potentially losing over-the-air television once the auction and subsequent channel repack take place.
“In rural and mountainous areas, local broadcast television is often the only communications infrastructure that connects our communities. Over-the-air broadcast television often serves as our lifeline — connecting farmers, ranchers and growers to more populated areas. Our members rely heavily on broadcast television for local public affairs programming, news, weather and emergency information,” they said in a letter to the FCC.
Operators of those LPTV stations are also nervous about being squeezed out of business when the auction takes place in the coming year and a half. Except for the Class A variety, LPTV stations can’t participate in the voluntary auction and won’t be included in the FCCs database when the channel repack takes place.
The agriculture and conservation groups say they relay on local broadcasting for original farming-related programming. “At risk are many of the thousands of television translators and LPTV stations that originate local farm reports or extend the reach of local broadcast signals into rural communities across America.”
The organizations sent the same letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.