Earlier this year a new law was enacted providing direct reimbursement to LPTV, translators and radio stations that will incur costs as a result of the TV Spectrum repacking. Last week the FCC began a proceeding to establish procedures compensating stations. We expect the FCC to establish rules later this year. In the decision the Commission tentatively concluded that:
- LPTV and TV translator stations (collectively referred to herein as LPTV/translator stations) are eligible for reimbursement if (1) they filed an application during the Commission’s Special Displacement Window and obtained a construction permit, and (2) were licensed and transmitting for at least 9 of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017, as required by the REA.
- It will reimburse LPTV/translator stations for their reasonable costs to construct the facilities authorized by the grant of the station’s Special Displacement Window application, but will require stations to reuse existing equipment and take other measures to mitigate costs where possible.
- Both full power FM stations and FM translators that were licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017, using the facilities impacted by the repacked television station are eligible for reimbursement under the REA. The FCC proposes that this will include FM stations that incur costs because they must permanently relocate, temporarily or permanently modify their facilities, or purchase or modify auxiliary facilities to provide service to at least 80 percent of their primary station’s coverage area or population during a period of time when construction work is occurring on a collocated repacked television station’s facilities.
- It will reimburse up to 100 percent of the costs eligible for reimbursement for FM stations that must relocate permanently, or temporarily or permanently modify facilities. Stations off the air for 30 days would receive 100% reimbursement. Stations off the air for 11-30 days would receive 75% of their expenses. Stations off the air for 1-10 days would be reimbursed for 50% of their expenses.
- It will propose to require LPTV/translator and FM stations seeking reimbursement to file with the Commission one or more forms certifying that they meet the eligibility criteria established in this proceeding for reimbursement, providing information regarding their current broadcasting equipment, and providing an estimate of their costs eligible for reimbursement.
- After the submission of information, the Media Bureau will provide eligible entities with an allocation of funds, to be available for draw down as the entities incur expenses. The FCC proposes that the Media Bureau will make an initial allocation toward eligible expenses, followed by subsequent allocation(s) as needed, to the extent funds remain for LPTV/translator stations and FM stations in the Reimbursement Fund.
- It will propose to use revised versions of the financial forms currently being used by full power, Class A, and MVPD entities for purposes of reimbursing eligible LPTV/translator and FM stations and proposes to use the same procedures to provide reimbursement payments to these newly eligible entities.
This begins the process of establishing rules. After comments and reply comments are received (in about 90 days) the FCC will proceed to establish rules. To see a copy of the commissions decision click HERE.
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