December 21, 2017

Media Bureau Announces Comment Dates For Next Generation Television Further Notice. Comments Must Be Submitted No Later Than February 20, 2018.

On November 20, 2017, the FCC released the Next Gen TV Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Next Gen TV Order and Next Gen TV Further Notice ).  In the Next Gen TV Further Notice, the Commission seeks comment on additional issues related to exceptions to and waivers of the local simulcasting requirement, seeks comment on whether they should let full power broadcasters use channels in the television broadcast band that are vacant to facilitate the transition to ATSC 3.0, and tentatively concluded that local simulcasting should not change the significantly viewed status of a Next Gen TV station. The Federal Register published a summary of the Next Gen TV Further Notice on December 20, 2017. Accordingly, comments must be submitted no later than February 20, 2018, and reply comments must be submitted no later than March 20, 2018.  Commenters must follow the filing instructions provided in the Next Gen TV Further Notice, which is available on the FCC’s website.

December 21, 2017

Media Bureau Freezes The Filing Of Minor Change Applications For LPTV/Translator Stations.

Effective immediately, the FCC Media Bureau will no longer accept for filing applications for minor changes for low power television and TV translator stations (referred to collectively as “LPTV/translator stations”).  This action will help to provide a stable database for eligible LPTV/translator stations to identify and apply for available channels in an upcoming displacement window.

December 19, 2017

The FCC Adopts An NPRM Seeking Comment On Whether To Modify, Retain Or Eliminate The 39 percent National Audience Reach Cap And/Or The UHF Discount Used By Broadcast Television Station Groups To Calculate Compliance With The Cap.

The FCC is seeking comment on the national television audience reach cap, including the discount afforded to UHF stations. The national television audience reach cap limits entities from owning or controlling television stations that, in the aggregate, reach more than 39 percent of the television households in the country. Earlier this year, the FCC reinstated a component of the rule, the so-called UHF discount, which provides a 50 percent discount to UHF stations for purposes of calculating compliance with the 39 percent audience reach cap. In reinstating the discount, the FCC found that the national audience reach cap and UHF discount are inextricably linked. Thus the earlier decision to eliminate the discount, effectively tightening the cap without determining whether such tightening was in the public interest, was arbitrary and capricious and unwise from a public policy perspective.This NPRM undertakes a broader assessment of the national audience reach cap as a whole, including the UHF discount, in light of increased video programming options for consumers, technological developments, and other factors. The FCC is seeking comment on the Commission’s authority to modify or eliminate the national cap, including the UHF discount. They also seek comment on whether to modify or eliminate the current 39 percent national audience reach cap and how parties should determine compliance with the cap, including whether we should eliminate the UHF discount.

December 5, 2017

FM Translator Filing Window For Class A & B AM Broadcasters and FM Filing Freeze

The Media Bureau (MB) and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) announced details and filing instructions for the second filing window opportunity to apply for new cross-service FM translator station construction permits. This filing window will be open to any AM station licensee that did not participate in either of the 2016 FM translator modification windows or the 2017 cross -service FM translator auction filing window, including licensees and proposed assignees of Class A and B AM broadcast stations that did not participate in a 2016 modification window. A cross-service FM translator rebroadcasts the signal of an AM broadcast station. 

The second filing window will open on January 25, 2018 and close on January 31, 2018. In the event that FM translator proposals filed during this window are determined to be mutually exclusive (MX) and such mutual exclusivity is not resolved through a future opportunity for settlement or technical amendments, the Commission will resolve those proposals through competitive bidding.  This auction has been designated as Auction 100.

In connection with this window, MB also announces that it will not accept Low Power FM and FM translator minor change construction permit applications and FM booster construction permit applications between January 18, 2018 and January 31, 2018.

November 27, 2017

FCC adopts a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking authorizing television broadcasters to use the Next Generation television transmission standard (ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis.

The FCC authorizes television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation ” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard, also called “ATSC 3.0” or “3.0 ,” on a voluntary, market-driven basis . This authorization is subject to broadcasters continuing to deliver current-generation digital television (DTV) service, using the ATSC 1.0 transmission standard, also called “ATSC 1.0 ” or “1.0,” to their viewers. ATSC 3.0 is the new TV transmission standard developed by Advanced Television Systems Committee as the world’s first Internet Protocol (IP)-based broadcast transmission platform . It merges the capabilities of over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the Internet, using the same 6 MHz channels presently allocated for DTV service . This new TV transmission standard promises to allow broadcasters to innovate, improve service , and use their spectrum more efficiently. It also has the potential to enable broadcasters to provide consumers with a more immersive and enjoyable television viewing experience on both home and mobile screens . In addition, ATSC 3.0 will allow broadcasters to offer enhanced public safety capabilities, such as geo-targeting of emergency alerts to tailor information to particular communities and emergency alerting capable of waking up sleeping devices to warn consumers of imminent emergencies, and advanced accessibility options. With today’s action, we aim to facilitate private sector innovation and promote American leadership in the global broadcast industry.

April 20, 2017

FCC Regional Coordinators to support broadcasters in the repacking effort.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau announce the assignment of Regional Coordinators to support broadcast television stations moving to new channel assignments in the post-incentive auction transition period. The Bureau is committed to ensuring a smooth and efficient post-auction transition. To enhance its ability to closely monitor the progress of the repack and to facilitate coordination among stations, each station that will transition to a new channel has been grouped into one of 10 geographically-based regions.

Each Regional Coordinator is listed in the Public Notice along with the list of stations in their region. 

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