Status Update on Incentive Auction Reimbursement Program – Final Allocations, Site Visits, and Filing Deadline Reminder

The Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau announced a final allocation from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund to increase the allocation for each participant from 92.5% to 100% of verified estimates. This will aid the Commission’s efforts to fully reimburse participants and close reimbursement accounts. They also announced the initiation of a program to visit the facilities of a statistically valid and random sample of Fund participants to validate the existence and operational status of post-transition broadcast equipment for which the entity received reimbursement. The site visit program supports the Commission’s responsibility as a prudent steward of taxpayer money to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse associated with the disbursement of federal funds. Finally, they remind all full power and Class A TV stations assigned transition completion dates in Phases 6-10 that they must submit all remaining invoices no later than March 22, 2022.

For details see the Public Notice below.

FCC Updates Broadcast Radio Technical Rules

In this Report and Order, the Commission updated it’s rules by eliminating or amending outdated or unnecessary broadcast radio regulations contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The revisions adopted herein better reflect current developments in the radio industry and ensure that the technical rules are accurate, up-to-date, and consistent.

Specifically, in the NPRM, we proposed the following rule changes:

(1) eliminating the maximum rated transmitter power limit rule for AM stations set out in
section 73.1665(b);

(2) updating the noncommercial educational (NCE) FM community of license coverage requirement set out in sections 73.316(c)(2)(ix)(B) and 73.1690(c)(8)(i) to match that used in section 73.515;

(3) eliminating the requirement that applicants demonstrate the effect of their FM
transmitting antenna on nearby FM or TV broadcast antennas, set out in section 73.316(d);

(4) updating the signal strength contour overlap requirements for NCE FM Class D stations set out in section 73.509(b) to harmonize with the contour overlap requirements for all other NCE FM stations, set out in section 73.509(a);

(5) eliminating the requirement for broadcast services to protect grandfathered common carrier services in Alaska operating in the 76-100 MHz frequency band;

(6) amending the definition of an “AM fill-in area” set out in section 74.1201(j); and

(7) amending allocation and power limitations for broadcast stations within 320 kilometers of the Mexican and Canadian borders, set out in sections 73.207(b) and 74.1235(d), to eliminate conflicting provisions and comply with current treaty requirements.

See the Report & Order for details and discussion.

Changes in Clean Water Act tower permits

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the FCC notifies tower builders about the recent change in the definition of the “waters of the United States” provision of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This change in the definition could affect tower builders with facilities requiring CWA permits, including facilities whose construction will involve significant change in surface features triggering the environmental assessment (EA) provisions under the FCC’s environmental rules.