WASHINGTON—WFOX-TV, a Cox Television licensee in Jacksonville, Fla., has been granted an extension to complete its repack transition due to “circumstances beyond the station’s control” by the FCC in a unanimous vote.
WFOX-TV, which had an original post-incentive auction broadcast transition deadline of July 3, now has until Sept. 8 to complete its transition process.
The FCC says the station needs additional time to resolve interference concerns with land mobile operations on its new channel. Had the extension not been granted, the commission says that WFOX-TV would have gone off the air, which would have left its community without its station programming during the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing.
According to the FCC, this extension will not delay the transition of any other station. In addition, because WFOX-TV’s current channel is below 37, it will also not slow the delivery of new 600 MHz wireless broadband to consumers.
Jean Kiddo, chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force, said that more than 90% of the 987 TV stations affected by the repack have vacated their pre-auction channels over the last three years. “Indeed, even during a global pandemic that caused some temporary work stoppages over the last few months, many TV stations have been able to successfully meet their transition deadlines, and we anticipate that the vast majority of remaining television stations will meet their July 3 deadline,” Kiddo added.
The July 3 deadline was supposed to mark the end of the 10-phase repack plan. The FCC said that there are 92 stations that still need to make the transition, but that it only expects a few other short extensions based on unforeseeable circumstances, like WFOX-TV.
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