Pai To Hill: Repack Is About 66% Over

The FCC’s repack of 1,000 TV stations into smaller spectrum quarters is almost two-thirds of the way to completion, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a Senate oversight hearing audience Thursday (Oct. 17), and has proven to be a smooth transition.

FCC Extends Phase 5 TV Repack Deadline

The FCC has extended phase 5 of its post-incentive auction repack because it includes some areas potentially in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Phase 5, which was to have concluded Sept. 6, includes stations in North and South Carolina.

Phase 4 And More: Surviving The Repack

Broadcasters’ most technically challenging project enters its final year.

TVN TECH

Repack Rolls Into Phase 3 Despite Some Delays

Phase 2 of the FCC’s 10-phase schedule to move stations to new frequencies following the FCC’s incentive auction went fairly smoothly according to both the FCC and vendors involved in getting the necessary new equipment in place. Out of 115 stations slated to move in Phase 2, only 13 missed the April 12 deadline and, of those, four have since made the transition. The FCC grants of phase changes and STAs are helping keep the repack on track, says Don Doty of tower firm Stainless. “I have to compliment a government agency that said it was going to be flexible and then followed through.”

DMA 14: DETROIT

WMYD Detroit Announces June 1 Rescan Date

Scripps-owned independent WMYD Detroit is moving frequencies on June 1 at midnight. Viewers who watch TV with an over-the-air antenna will need to rescan their TVs to continue watching the station. Viewers do not need to purchase new equipment or services and those who watch WMYD through a cable or satellite service do not need […]

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Waives Some Quarterly Repack Reports

Thursday afternoon the FCC waived certain quarterly Transition Progress Report requirements for stations in phases 3, 5 and 8 of the post-auction repack process.

FCC Expands Some Repack Reimbursement

The commission authorizes the reimbursement of low-power television, TV translator and FM broadcast stations for costs incurred as a result of the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction repack.

TVN TECH

Dark Clouds Looming For TV Repack

By most accounts, transmitter manufacturers and suppliers of antennas and RF components are doing a good job so far of keeping up with the rapid spike in demand caused by the repack. But weather problems are causing major problems for tower crews and delaying a growing number of projects. And repack insiders fear a more significant backup this summer and fall.

FCC Frees Up More Money For TV Repack

The FCC has released its status report on the post-broadcast incentive auction TV station repack, which involves most of 1,000 full-powers and 2,000 low-powers in a 10-phase plan, and as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai signaled last week, the commission is ahead of schedule. It is also making available more money for the TV station transition.

Noncoms Pitch Big Role In Repack Education

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.

FCC Marks First TV Station Repack Milestone

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.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Offers LPTV Repack Reimbursement Schedule

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.

DTV Utah Completes Successful Repack

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.

Repack Begins, Deadlines Are Tight

As stations transition to new channel assignments, Congress allocates more money.

NAB To FCC: Minimize Repack Disruption

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.

GatesAir Ships 100th Repack Transmitter To Hearst

GatesAir reached what it called a milestone in its transmitter sales and deliveries for the U.S. spectrum repack with the shipment of its 100th repack transmitter. Hearst Television, one of many U.S. broadcasters exclusively relying on GatesAir for repack sales and services, will take delivery of the high-power Maxiva ULXTE liquid-cooled transmitter for WMOR Tampa, Fla. GatesAir announced an agreement in […]

STATION ADVISORY

Repack Reimbursement Comments Due Sept. 26

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.

GatesAir Supplies Transmitters For SCETV Repack

GatesAir, a global provider of wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, will supply Maxiva liquid-cooled transmitters to South Carolina Educational Television Commission (SCETV) in support of the public broadcaster’s state-wide repack initiatives. SCETV, the state of South Carolina’s PBS and NPR broadcaster, will relocate 10 stations to new channel assignments across […]

FCC Frees Up $742M For Post-Auction Repack

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.

LPTVs Want More Time To Find New Channels

In a public notice issued Feb. 9, the FCC’s Media Bureau and Incentive Auction Task Force said the “special displacement window” for LPTV and translator stations filing applications for channels opened April 10 and closes May 15. But LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition Director Michael Gravino says the FCC just changed its guidance on how those should be filed and his members need another two weeks to digest the change and respond accordingly.

NAB TECH HOT TOPICS

RF Vendors Rolling Ahead With The Repack

Manufacturers of transmitters, antennas, transmission line, filters and other RF components are already busy with repack orders but say the additional funding included in the government’s recent spending bill should greatly ease the process, particularly for mid-to-small-market stations that have been slow to invest due to fears about compensation. Above, a Dielectric  APT panel antenna. Click here to access TVNewsCheck’s NAB 2018 Resource Guide listing transmitters, antennas and other RF gear  or here to download it as a PDF.

STATION ADVISORY

LPTV/Translator Filing Window Opens April 10

In case you forgot, this a reminder to low-power television and TV rranslator broadcasters of the FCC’s Special Displacement Window for LPTV Stations. This 60-day filing window opens up on Tuesday, April 10, and lasts through Tuesday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. ET. This special window is limited to applications to change channels, which may be filed only by operating LPTV stations and TV translators being displaced from their current channel as a result of the TV spectrum repack.

Trump Signs Spending Bill After Veto Threat

President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill Friday that includes an additional $1 billion for spectrum repack expenses, averting a government shutdown and ending a panic that briefly gripped official Washington. A few hours after stunning even his closest advisers by tweeting that he was “considering a VETO“ of the bill, he held a news conference to say he would begrudgingly support it “as a matter of national security.“

FCC Updates Consumer Repack Information

The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau have made changes to the DTV Reception Map. The map is designed to help over-the-air viewers understand which local stations they will be able to receive and what signal quality they might expect depending on their antenna type and placement as the repack rolls out for hundreds of TV stations that will begin transmitting on new channels between now and July 2020.

DMA 5: DALLAS

KXAS Getting Repack Help From T-Mobile

T-Mobile and the Dallas NBC O&O announced an agreement to accelerate the repacking of the station’s 600 MHz spectrum in North Texas and surrounding areas. KXAS will move to its new frequency in late May, more than a year earlier than the FCC deadline of June 21, 2019. The agreement allows KXAS to move to its new frequency and maximize its coverage area earlier than anticipated.

DMA 86

Repack Cost Kills Noncom KNCT Killeen, TX

The Central Texas College Board Of Trustees voted to pull the plug on KNCT Killeen, Texas, the region’s only PBS station. KNCT GM Max Rudolph said the station was faced with a significant amount of expense to move the station from ch. 46 to ch. 17, which would cost about $4.4 million.

House Panel Approves FCC Reauthorization

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a bill reauthorizing funding for the FCC and allocating additional funds to TV and radio stations affected by the FCC’s incentive auction, which repurposes broadcast airwaves for wireless providers. It would also implement a number of process reforms aimed at making the agency run more efficiently.

FCC Opens Up LPTV Displacement Window

The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau announced the opening of a 60-day filing window for those LPTV stations that are being displaced as a result of the post-incentive auction repacking process.The window will be open from Tuesday, April 10, through Tuesday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Once a station has identified which channel it wants — and on which it can operate without causing unacceptable interference — it should file a construction permit application during this filing window.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC To Randomly Inspect Repacked Stations

The FCC said yesterday that it will be inspecting approximately 60 of the more than 900 TV stations changing channels as a result of the incentive auction and the repacking of the TV spectrum that took place after that auction. The FCC notice says that it is hiring contract employees who will conduct these inspections on a randomly selected set of stations to assess the equipment that they have on hand and will be replacing when moving to their new channel.

FCC OKs Request From PR And VI TV Stations

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “The commission has made it a top priority to assist with the recovery from last year’s devastating hurricanes. Today, we’re taking another important step to expedite the restoration of vital communications services.

GatesAir Names John Belza CFO

The experienced finance executive will also oversee human resources and information technology, while introducing new strategies to improve company profitability and increase shareholder value.

Hearst Chooses GatesAir Gear For Repack

A new deal includes site audits, turnkey solutions and installation services for broadband transmitters at  to 13 stations affected by the TV spectrum repack.

PR, VI Stations Seek Repack Speed-Up

Broadcasters tell the FCC that in light of the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, “there is good cause to accelerate transition of the stations to post-auction channel assignments in order to avoid wasteful duplicative construction and to enable stations to utilize approved TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund reimbursements to subsidize restoration of broadcast television service to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Dielectric, Quincy Set Repack Deal For 9 TVs

The Phase One and Two deal covers antennas, filters and/or transmission line customized for each station, with Dielectric’s modeling software driving accelerated delivery timelines.

FCC Allocates $1B In Initial Repack Funding

On Monday, the FCC announced the initial allocation from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund for the reimbursement of eligible full power and Class A television stations as well as multichannel video programming distributors impacted by the Incentive Auction. The initial allocation of the Relocation Fund makes available $1 billion for reimbursement of expenses related to the construction of their post-auction facilities. Commercial stations and MVPDs may now access approximately 52% (62% for noncommercial stations) of their estimated and verified costs of construction of their post-auction facilities.

Reps Want Pai To Stick To Repack Deadline

A group of House members says the commission needs to not grant extensions to the 39-month timeline of the spectrum repack.

TVN TECH

Tower Deaths Put Repack Sked In Spotlight

Broadcasters have long been concerned that all stations may not be able to make the mandated switch to new channels following the spectrum auction on the FCC’s schedule, largely because broadcasters don’t believe there are enough qualified tower crews to get the work done — a concern shared by some tower companies. That fear was exacerbated by the deaths of three tower workers in Miami last month.

DMA 1: NEW YORK

T-Mobile To Help WWOR With Repack Move

WWOR New York will repack in early 2018, more than a year sooner than the originally proposed FCC deadline of August 2019, and will do it for much less.

STATION ADVISORY

Station Quarterly Transition Reports Due Tues.

TV stations being repacked now have yet another quarterly filing obligation. Stations transitioning to a new channel in the repack must file a quarterly Transition Progress Report by the 10th of October, January, April and July. On Tuesday, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding stations of this obligation.

NAB Launches Repack Education Website

TVAnswers.org offers educational sections explaining to viewers why the transition is occurring, when stations in their area are changing channels and what steps they need to take to continue receiving their local TV stations.