FCC Adopts TV Repack Reimbursement Policies for Radio, LPFM, FM translators, TV translators and LPTV stations

Last year Congress passed the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA) which appropriated an additional $1 billion to cover the costs of repacking TV stations over several years.  Not only did the REA increase the total amount that can be reimbursed for TV stations, it also expanded reimbursement for eligible costs incurred by certain Low Power TV (LPTV), TV translator, and FM stations.  It also provided funds to the Commission to be used for consumer education purposes.

For FY 2019, the FCC will use the $400 million first to reimburse full power, Class A, and MVPD entities for any expenses eligible for reimbursement that have not already been reimbursed before using any remaining FY 2019 funds to reimburse LPTV/translator and FM stations for eligible expenses not already reimbursed above the amounts allocated for those purposes by the REA for fiscal year 2018.  (The REA allocated $600 million for FY 2018.)

LPTV and TV 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 nine of the twelve months prior to April 13, 2017, as required by the REA.  It also concluded that full power FM stations, low power FM stations, and FM translators that were licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017, using the facilities affected by a repacked television station, are eligible for reimbursement.  This includes FM stations that incur costs to permanently relocate, temporarily or permanently modify their facilities, or purchase or modify auxiliary facilities to provide service during work on a repacked television station’s facilities.  Finally, the Report and Order adopts a mechanism for reimbursing the newly eligible entities that is substantially similar to the process currently used by the Commission to reimburse full power and Class A stations and MVPDs.

If you plan on submitting a reimbursement application, we urge you to consult your communications attorney.  This is a very complex process.

To see the FCC’s decision click HERE.

 

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