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Media Bureau notice addresses procedures for wildfire stricken stations
9/2/2009

The FCC Media Bureau reminded broadcasters affected by the wildfires sweeping through portions of California of available avenues to help them maintain or resume operations.

Twenty-two TV broadcasters and 25 radio stations have transmission facilities endangered by wildfires threatening Mount Wilson outside Los Angeles.

According to the Media Bureau, requests for special temporary authority may be submitted by informal letter or e-mail by stations dealing with the effects of the fires. TV, FM and low-power TV stations also can submit requests electronically via the commission’s Consolidate Database System.

The public notice also reminded TV stations that FCC rules allow the erection of temporary antennas without first receiving authority from the commission. The bureau will waive the requirement that licensees ceasing operation due to the effects of the fire notify the commission within 24 hours of beginning to use an emergency antenna. Broadcasters wishing to continue to use an emergency antenna must submit a request for an STA within 10 days of beginning operations.

Any station discontinuing operations as a result of fire damage should submit notification and, if necessary, request authority to remain silent within the periods specified in commission’s rules, according to the Media Bureau. However, the bureau will waive the time periods in the rule and will accept notification within 30 days and requests to remain off air within 60 days of discontinuing operations.

The notice identifies individual FCC employees to contact depending on the circumstance as well as phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

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