CBA asks FCC to reject coalition white space proposal as discriminatory

The Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) last week asked the FCC to reject a request from the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) that it said would leave LPTV stations with less protection than full-power broadcasters from interference generated by unlicensed white space devices.

The CBA comments filed May 8 are in response to a March 19 Petition for Reconsideration submitted to the commission by PISC. In it, the coalition asked the commission to reconsider how it protects LPTV, Class A, translator and booster stations from white space device interference. These broadcasters should “receive expanded protection in the database, but only by demonstrating to the commission the number of viewers outside the currently protected signal contours that would be harmed” by interference from white space devices given extended contour protection, it said.

Reacting to the petition, the CBA said the PISC request would discriminate against LPTV stations, “which so often serve audiences that have limited or no alternatives for the specialized programming they receive.”

The association also reminded the commission of information it recently provided the FCC showing LPTV stations have “a vastly greater representation of minority and female ownership than any other medium of communication in this nation.” The CBA filing rhetorically asked why the coalition thinks “that minority and female station owners providing ethnic and other niche services are less important than full-power broadcasters, particularly when minority and female ownership of full-power television stations falls so far below the commission’s goal?”

The association’s filing wondered how LPTV stations, which are primarily small business, are supposed to fund determining where their viewers live. It also questioned where the FCC is supposed to get the resources necessary to “evaluate case-by-case requests for protection that are likely to be filed by hundreds of LPTV stations.”