FCC drops LPTV item from October agenda

October 16, 2008

The Federal Communications Commission issued a notice Monday that it would not as previously anticipated take up the matter of the granting certain Class A and LPTV stations access to cable distribution at its Oct. 15 open meeting.

The proposal, favored by FCC chairman Kevin Martin, would allow certain Class A and LPTV stations not making the February 2009 DTV transition to apply for full-power status, and thus qualify for must-carry rights on cable television systems.

More than 150 community stations have petitioned the FCC for the rule change. These stations broadcast a range of programming, including religious, community, government access, Spanish language, African American, Korean, South Asian and local news.

Attaining cable distribution has become a front-burner issue for LPTV and Class A stations as the DTV transition deadline nears. Currently, only a few DTV converter boxes that qualify for the federal government’s reimbursement program have the ability to pass through analog signals. Since LPTV and Class A stations are not mandated to make the DTV conversion in February, concern has grown that over-the-air viewers will acquire converter boxes that make it difficult for viewers to continue receiving LPTV and Class A stations over the air.

A change in classification to full-power would qualify these stations for cable must-carry protection.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.

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