The FCC today expanded the site locations where FM translators can rebroadcast AM radio stations. The amended rule provide s greater flexibility for an AM station to place a rebroadcasting FM translator in a location where it will better serve its AM station’s listeners. AM radio stations that want to improve their service area with a clearer signal can do so by using an FM translator, which receives the AM signal and re -broadcasts it on an FM frequency. This is particularly useful for the many AM stations forced to reduce their power at night, since the FM translator can operate at the same power 24 hours a day. At issue is a current FCC rule that may make finding a location for these translators unnecessarily challenging. Under the old rule, an AM station could place a rebroadcasting FM translator either within its daytime service contour or within a 25 -mile radius of its transmitter, whichever distance was less. The new rule allows the rebroadcasting FM translator to be located anywhere within the AM station’s daytime service contour or anywhere within a 25-mile radius of the transmitter, even if the contour extends farther than 25 miles from the transmitter.
The FCC proposes to authorize television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard associated with recent work of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (“ATSC 3.0”) on a voluntary, market -driven basis, while they continue to deliver current -generation digital television (DTV) broadcast service, using the “ATSC 1.0 standard,” to their viewers. ATSC 3.0 is being developed by broadcasters with the intent of merging 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. According to a coalition of broadcast and consumer electronics industry representatives that has petitioned the Commission to authorize the use of ATSC 3.0,this new standard has the potential to greatly improve broadcast signal reception, particularly on mobile devices and television receivers without outdoor antennas, and it will enable broadcasters to offer enhanced and innovative new features to consumers, including Ultra High Definition (UHD) picture and immersive audio, more localized programming content, an advanced emergency alert system (EAS) capable of waking up sleeping devices to warn consumers of imminent emergencies, better accessibility options, and interactive services.With today’s action, the FCC aims to facilitate private sector innovation and promote American leadership in the global broadcast industry.
On Monday, March 13, 2017, the Commission’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau will host a public workshop to review procedures related to the post-auction broadcast transition. Following the auction, the Commission will issue a public notice beginning the 39-month period during which some full power and Class A broadcast television stations must transition to post -auction channel assignments in the reorganized television band. The workshop will include presentations and panels by Commission staff focusing on post-auction procedures. The workshop will be held in the Commission Meeting Room at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC, and will be open to the public. Additional details, including the exact times and format for the workshop, how to register, how to view the workshop remotely, and how to obtain reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities will be released at a later date. For more information contact:Charlie Meisch, Charles.Meisch@fcc.gov, (202)418-2943. For more information about the broadcast television incentive auction, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/incentiveauctions
The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau announce that, within the next few days, they will send to each eligible full power or Class A television station that was not a provisionally winning bidder to go off -air at the end of Stage 4 of the reverse auction (Auction 1001) of the broadcast television incentive auction a confidential letter with important information regarding the station’s post-auction channel assignment.In addition, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announces a limited waiver of the rule prohibiting communicating bids and bidding strategies in the reverse auction portion of the incentive auction.
The Commission delegated authority to the Media Bureau to, among other things, develop a catalog of eligible reimbursement expenses (Catalog) to facilitate the process of reimbursing eligible broadcasters and Multi-channel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) from the $1.75 billion TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund (Fund). The Catalog is a non-exhaustive list, organized by category, of the equipment and services broadcasters and MVPDs are most likely to incur as a result of the 39-month post-incentive auction broadcast transition. The Bureau sought and received comment on the Catalog in September 2013, March 2014, and, most recently, October 2016 after proposing to update the Catalog’s expense categories and baseline costs.
The Media Bureau extends the filing deadlines for public comment in the pending proceeding proposing to require certain broadcast television stations that are not eligible to receive reimbursement from the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund but must transition to new channels during the post-auction transition period to provide progress reports. The deadlines are extended to provide additional time for commenters that coincides with the date of Federal Register publication.
This Public Notice rescinds, in its entirety and effective immediately, earlier guidance provided in a March 12, 2014, Public Notice, DA 14 -330, “Processing of Broadcast Television Applications Proposing Sharing Arrangements and Contingent Interests.” This action is taken by the Acting Chief, Media Bureau, pursuant to authority delegated by 47 C.F.R. § 0.283 of the Commission’s rules.
For purposes of the repacking process, the Commission adopted use of new software developed by the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) (called TVStudy ) and updated input values. OET releases today aversion of the TVStudy software (Version 2.1) intended to facilitate the processing of applications that implement the results of the repacking process.For example, Version 2.1 includes an updated “TV Interference Check” mode to help evaluate interference between TV stations, as will be needed for processing anticipated applications for station modifications following the auction. The updated software also includes new map output types and options, support for additional or updated underlying data sources, and several new analysis modes. While Version 2.1 includes changes necessary to facilitate application processing ,it is consistent with the version of TVStudy being used during the course of the incentive auction . The full list of features and functions added in TVStudy Version 2.1 since the release of TVStudy Version 2.0.2, the prior version of TVStudy ,is included in the attached change log. TVStudy Version 2.1 and the software configuration settings for use in processing post – auction TV applications, which are included in a template XML file (January 2017 TVStudy Template), are both available on the TVStudy website at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/tvstudy