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MAP Proposes New DTV License

The Media Access Project is asking the FCC to adopt a new class of DTV license for users of broadcasters’ DTV spectrum.

MAP pitched the idea for a “Class S” license to the FCC at the commission’s en banc meeting addressing diversified ownership in New York earlier this week. The proposed license would allow minorities, economically disadvantaged businesses and Class A licensees to bid in a “baseball-type auction” for spectrum that broadcasters would otherwise use for multicasting secondary channels.

Broadcasters who volunteered to give up portions of their spectrum for such uses would be compensated by the licensees, who would also be eligible for cable must carry status but would also have to abide by broadcast public service obligations. Class S licensees would not be allowed to carry commercial programming for more than half of their broadcast day.

If the broadcaster needed the extra spectrum to air high definition programming, the licensee would be required to lease the added spectrum back to the broadcaster for up to six hours per day. The amount of compensation would be based on the hourly cost of the facility charge weighted for the time of day of broadcast.