FCC Freezes Filing of Certain TV and DTV Applications

The FCC has placed a freeze on TV, DTV and Class A TV applications that could change the interference landscape during the period while broadcasters are making their DTV channel elections. (See previous story.) However, many applications will continue to be accepted provided they do not involve channel changes, channel swaps or increases in protected coverage. Stations will still be able to file applications for new or modified DTV facilities provided that the combined coverage area of these facilities does not exceed that authorized in the DTV Table of Allotments, Commission authorizations (licenses and/or construction permits), and "applications on file with the Commission prior to release of this Public Notice." Analog applications will be accepted provided the coverage increase does not exceed the combined area allowed in Commission authorizations (licenses and/or construction permits) and applications on file prior to the release of the Public Notice.

Class A station displacement applications will not be accepted, although the FCC said that "on-air Class A stations demonstrating that they face imminent disruption of service may request Special Temporary Authority (STA) to continue operations." Displacement applications requesting an in-core channel filed by out-of-core LPTV stations deemed Class-A eligible will not be acted on during the freeze, but they can request immediate non-Class A LPTV displacement relief through an STA.

There are some other exceptions to the freeze. Stations can file modification applications that would resolve international coordination issues. A broadcast station seeking a new tower site due to the events of September 11, 2001 is also allowed to file modification applications. Other applications may be considered. The commission said that the Media Bureau "will consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests for waiver of this freeze when a modification application is necessary or otherwise in the public interest for technical or other reasons to maintain quality service to the public, such as when zoning restrictions preclude tower construction at a particular site or when unforeseen events, such as extreme weather events or other extraordinary circumstances, require relocation to a new tower site. As with any request for waiver of our rules, a request for waiver of the freeze imposed in this Public Notice will be granted only upon a showing of good cause and when grant of the waiver will serve the public interest."

For a complete list of prohibited and permitted applications, refer to the Public Notice Freeze on the Filing of Certain TV and DTV Requests for Allotment or Service Area Changes.