QCommunications (QComm), an engineering, project management and installation vendor specializing in The Spectrum Act (Repack project), has appointed Mark Fehlig director, satellite services. Fehlig will give oversight and detail customer project advice for best C-Band 5G repack and phased coordination. This goes beyond satellite 5G filtering and IRD retuning to in-depth satellite/programmer transition plans and earth […]
Money is on the minds of America’s low-power TV station owners these days. With the FCC announcing last month that it is now taking applications for repack reimbursement funds from the TV Broadcasters TV Relocation fund, LPTVs that have paid heavily to switch frequencies under the FCC’s spectrum repack are anxiously awaiting the check in the mail.
Next week, on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 11 a.m. ET, the FCC will hold a webinar to detail the process for seeking reimbursement for costs incurred because of the repacking of TV channels into a smaller part of the spectrum following the incentive auction.
The FCC on June 4 released streamlined financial information instructions for full-power/Class A TV stations receiving repack reimbursement that have changed their banking information or have sold or acquired an eligible station and need to transfer the banking information to the new owner.
GatesAir has delivered its 300th repack transmitter. Cornerstone Television’s WPCB Pittsburgh (DMA 24) took delivery of its new Maxiva ULXTE-50 liquid-cooled transmitter late last week. WPCB has been repacked from ch. 50 to 28, and will transmit at 31.7 kW from its new frequency beginning Aug. 2. To date, GatesAir has shipped 11,273 power amplifiers, which represents more than 6.4 Megawatts of transmission power. GatesAir says it has “successfully met all shipping deadlines to date thanks […]
Stacked UHF and VHF antenna arrays for American Tower are designed to optimize repack coverage for stations in Dallas and Boston.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying more than 100 100 Rohde & Schwarz high-power TV transmitters as it moves to meet repack deadlines across the country.
Two San Francisco broadcasters will leverage structurally complex, top-mounted stacked antenna array that’s in compliance with a stringent earthquake code. Dielectric will showcase its THV Series of VHF antennas at the NAB Show.
The National Association of Broadcasters says the FCC should not use scarce post-incentive auction repack funds to help Microsoft’s white spaces initiative, or pay T-Mobile for its side deals to help LPTVs clear off spectrum early so T-Mobile, the largest bidder in the TV spectrum auction, could get earlier access to reclaimed channels.
Dielectric, a manufacturer of TV and FM broadcast antenna systems, recently welcomed Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, to its repack antenna facility in Lewiston, Maine. Chairman Pai was greeted by Andy Whiteside, president, and Keith Pelletier, VP and general manager with a brief discussion of Dielectric’s 75-year history. The chairman than met with key Dielectric executives, followed by a guided tour of the facility and […]
Dielectric has aggressively pursued the TV repack antenna supplier and has received its 500th antenna for the multi-phase repack process. Nexstar Media Group’s KSHV Shreveport, La. (DMA 90), will install the antenna in the first quarter of 2019 in alignment with phase 2 of the FCC repack transition schedule. Dielectric’s 500th repack antenna is a TUA-P4-4/10H-1 SM broadband, side-mount, auxiliary antenna that the station […]
The commission proposed rules governing which stations are eligible for reimbursement following the post-incentive auction repacking of TV stations, and what kinds of expenses can be reimbursed, as well as the procedures eligible stations must use to receive funds. Here’s the skinny on LPTV and TV translator stations.
On Aug. 24, the Hearst-owned Pittsburgh ABC and Cozi TV affiliate will be the first Pittsburgh station to move frequencies under the spectrum repack.
Bahakel Communications has signed a master purchase agreement (MPA) with Hitachi Kokusai Electric Comark, manufacturer and supplier of DTV transmitters, encoding systems, and associated field services. The move is designed to smooth the repack of six Bahakel stations. The MPA provides Bahakel with the key framework for the purchase of new transmitters and associated services […]
The FCC announced in October that it would be lifting its 2013 freeze on certain TV station modification applications that would increase a station’s coverage area. Today, it said the thaw will begin on Nov. 28, and will be quite short in duration, ending at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 7. During this period, full-power and Class A TV stations that were not assigned a new channel in the repack will be able to file for minor modifications of their facilities.
But it’s a preliminary number. More cost estimates are expected from MVPDs and a small number of broadcasters that will push the total higher. Based on its own research, TVNewsCheck estimated in a Thursday story that the final tally would be at least $2.2 billion. Even at $2.1 billion, the expenses are $365 million short of what Congress has set aside to reimburse broadcasters and MVPDs affected by the repack. The FCC has pledged to help broadcasters in their campaign in Congress to increase reimbursement pool so it fully covers their expenses.
TVN’s Phil Kurz: The FCC gave broadcasters extra time to file their repack expense estimates this week because of the trouble with the filing system. It was the right thing to do. Let’s hope the FCC attitude on deadlines doesn’t change when the real work on moving hundreds of stations to new channels begins and broadcasters are faced with unexpected and inevitable technical challenges.
California Oregon Broadcasting, CNZ Communications, Gray Television, Local Media Holdings, Media General, Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Venture Technologies Group identify a number of problems with the FCC’s post-auction channel reassignment process and offer proposed solutions, including dropping the FCC’s confidentiality rules so stations can work together.
The trade group tells the FCC that the “sheer number of stations that must move, the interference interdependencies between these stations, and the highly individualized nature of broadcast transmission facilities will make this the most challenging transition the commission has ever overseen,” and offers suggestions for facilitating the process.
The FCC is providing broadcasters with an opportunity to test and provide feedback on the Incentive Auction Broadcaster Relocation Reimbursement System, which is the online form that the commission will use to collect requests for reimbursement of repacking expenses (technically known as FCC Form 2100, Schedule 399).
Having produced an ask-bid gap wider than the Grand Canyon, round one of the FCC’s incentive auction suffered from some big miscalculations and it left some broadcasters sadly disappointed and others continuing to wonder whether they will have to join the eventual mass channel migration.
A federal court on Tuesday ruled against a challenge to part of the FCC’s ongoing process of reassigning TV spectrum to mobile providers and the resulting repack of the TV band. The Appeals Court in Washington denied a challenge from Mako Communications, an LPTV operator, to the FCC’s decision not to extend protections to its operations following the repack. The court said that the FCC’s decision not to offer the protections did not change the rights of LPTV broadcasters, since full-power stations already have priority when it comes to using wireless spectrum.
Stations deciding to sell their spectrum in the FCC’s incentive auction and cease their business operations will be required to treat the event as a one-time sale or loss, the real accounting challenges will arise for stations that want to sell their spectrum but continue operating their business. They have options including channel sharing, joint ventures and license sharing. The differences between these interpretations have far-reaching consequences.
At most, broadcasters have 39 months to complete their move to a new channel assignment if and when the incentive auction is complete. That’s not much time. To expedite antenna replacement, many are advocating a two-step tango on TV towers where crews install an auxiliary, broadband side-mount antenna first to keep a station on air. Then later, when the smoke clears, design, build and install a permanent antenna that replicates as closely as possible today’s coverage contour.
Since it looks like the FCC will have to repeat its two-part incentive auction process to balance the money promised to broadcasters with what is raised from wireless carriers,broadcasters and their technology suppliers remain in the dark longer about which stations will have to move in the repack and to which channels. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It could help sync up the repack with an ATSC 3.0 rollout and provide more time to create the 36-month repack schedule. Some vendors say they could use the extra time to prepare for the expected demand. Read the second part of this Special Report here.
A new plan from AT&T on how best to repack television stations on a regional basis following completion of the incentive auction has received kudos from parts of the TV industry knowledgeable about what will be required. However, there appears to be a few missing pieces, the most glaring of which is the lack of leadership to shepherd the TV broadcasters, tower crews, vendors and others through the process. Read the first part of this Special Report here.