— Monday is the last day to file comments on how a $1.75 billion
fund to relocate broadcasters will be administered. The Federal Communications
Commission extended the filing period to accommodate the closure of the federal
government in October. The commission
issued a Public Notice Sept. 23 proposing rules and methodologies for governing
and administering the fund. They were written mindful of there being no way to
know how far the money will have to be stretched.
The FCC has proposed several parameters, including bulk purchasing, volume
discounts, channel- and facility sharing. Channel-sharing was mentioned in the
National Broadband Plan. Virtually no broadcasters have publicly expressed
interest in doing it. Radio Frequency Systems of Meriden, Conn., suggested that
facility-sharing could be encouraged by identifying which stations could most
easily consider doing so during the planning stage.
“The required antenna radiation pattern characteristic must be thee same for
each broadcaster that shares an antenna,” RFS wrote in their comments
“…consideration should be given to maximizing the use of common azimuthal
patterns whenever possible for facilities that could potentially be co-located.
Along with its Public Notice, the commission issued a “Catalog
of Eligible Expenses
,” which includes various transmitters, antennas,
tubes, cables, mask filters and other equipment necessary to move a TV signal
to a new frequency. Larcan, a
transmitter manufacturer in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, noted that
liquid-cooled, solid state transmitters were missing from the VHF transmitter
category. Larcan said bulk-purchase pricing would also be a difficult
proposition given that every broadcaster likely will need some level of
“Prices are held in check by the market itself,” the company said. It also said
competitive bidding would harm vendors.
“This would seriously hamper the already compressed timeline by placing
significant added workload on already taxed staffs of both broadcasters and
The National Religious Broadcasters echoed Larcan.
“The services and equipment necessary for our member stations to accomplish a
channel reassignment are too customized to be eligible for bulk purchasing,”
the NRB said in their filing
group also said competitive bidding “may not be feasible for all stations.”
The NRB has suggested the FCC investigate the estimated cost of relocating a
station before the auction to weigh against potential revenues gained from
reassigning a license that would trigger one or more relocations.
“Accepting bids that would increase the number of stations that must relocate,
and thus drive up the total cost of relocation beyond the limits of the
reimbursement fund, would jeopardize a station’s ability to relocate, and
directly violate the Spectrum Act’s mandate that the FCC preserve stations’ coverage area and population
served,” the NRB said.
Reply comment are due Nov. 18.