WASHINGTON—The repack moves onto its next step, as the Incentive Auction Task Force and the FCC’s Media Bureau have issued a Public Notice on the opening of the first priority filing window. The window will open on Aug. 9 and close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sept. 8.
When the incentive auction concluded, the FCC began a transition period where stations that received a new channel assignment would be reauthorized and relicensed. Part of that transition period is the first priority window filing that will be available to certain eligible full power and Class A TV stations.
This priority filing window will be limited to 25 reassigned stations that were granted a waiver as of the July 12 filing deadline for applications for initial construction permits due to those stations being “unable to construct” the specified facilities assigned to them in the “Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice;” any reassigned station, band changing station, or non-reassigned station entitled to protection in the repacking process that is predicted to experience a loss of population served in excess of 1 percent as a result of the repack; and Class stations that did not receive protection and were displaced. Stations that received a waiver and Class A stations are exempt from a filing fee.
Stations may request either for expanded facilities or an alternate channel in the first priority window. To apply for an expanded facility, the change must qualify as a minor change under the Commission’s rules laid out in the “Broadcast Transition Procedures Public Notice.” Applications for alternate channels are major change applications and are therefore subject to the local public notice requirements, per the Commission’s rules, including a 30-day period for the filing of petitions to deny. Band changing stations may not apply for alternate channels outside of their post-auction band.
Applicants are required to protect the construction permit facilities of reassigned stations and band changing stations, regardless of whether they have been granted or remain pending. Applications must also protect the facilities specified in applications filed before the April 2013 freeze with “cut-off” protection. For Class A stations, their applications must show that the proposal would not cause interference to low power television or television translator facilities that have been authorized or proposed. The facilities proposed in applications filed during the first priority filing window will be entitled to interference protection from applications filed later.
To determine mutual exclusivity, applications will be treated as filed on the last day of that window. Stations that file applications that are determined to be mutually exclusive with another application filed will be notified and given 90 days to resolve their mutual exclusivity through a technical solution or settlement in an amendment to their applications.
In the event of an incomplete or defective application, the station will be contacted and allowed to submit an amendment resolving the issue. Failure to correct a defect will result in the dismissal of the application. For a station that was unable to construct a specified facility or a displaced Class A station that has a file dismissed, they must file a new application within 15 days of dismissal and pay the filing fee.
Joyce Bernstein, Joyce.Bernstein@fcc.gov, or Kevin Harding, Kevin.Harding@fcc.gove, are the point of contacts for any additional information.
For more information on the repack, visit TV Technology's repack silo.