Noncommercial TV stations want the FCC to let them spend the money on a post-incentive auction repack campaign funded by Congress in the Ray Baum’s FCC reauthorization act. That would include coordinating the campaign for both noncommercial and commercial stations.
On Friday, Nov. 30, broadcasters in the first of a 10-phase post incentive auction repack must have completed their move to new channels and ceased broadcasting on their pre-transition channels. Phase two begins Dec. 1. According to the FCC, more than 140 TV stations in over 20 markets will have moved frequencies when phase one is over.
The FCC has invited comments on a “catalog” of categories and amounts it thinks are reasonable for reimbursement of expenses incurred by low-power TV stations as a result of involuntary channel changes imposed by the post-incentive auction repacking of the TV spectrum.
In March 2017, DTV Utah began plans on repacking six of its eight stations that were required to change frequencies as a result of the spectrum auction. DTV Utah is a television transmitter site located in the Oquirrh Mountains above Salt Lake City and was the location of a complex, channel repack project involving nine UHF television stations, with eight of the transmitters combined into a community antenna.
As stations transition to new channel assignments, Congress allocates more money.
The FCC should seek to minimize disruptions to TV viewers and FM radio listeners as it firms up how it will distribute the $1 billion additionally allocated by Congress to reimburse broadcasters for their channel relocation expenses, NAB said in comments filed with the agency.
In Monday’s Federal Register, publication is scheduled for the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on reimbursing LPTV stations, TV translators and FM radio stations for costs they incur because of the TV incentive auction and the resulting repacking of the TV spectrum. The publication in the Federal Register means that comments on the FCC proposals are due Sept. 26, and reply comments on Oct. 26.
As promised, the FCC has released the second tranche of post-incentive auction repack funding, which is almost all of the original money allocated by Congress. It is allocating an additional $742 million (or 92.5% of total costs), with a tad left over for ($8 million), eventually, for “trueing up” those payments–the payments are based on broadcaster cost estimates that are something of a moving target.