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Media Bureau announces assistance for stations, MVPDs affected by Wilma

The FCC Media Bureau released two Public Notices Oct. 25 to provide relief to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), television and radio broadcasters in the areas struck by Hurricane Wilma.

The notices give all requests for temporary facilities or modification to existing facilities expedited processing. The provisions for broadcasting emergency information are presumed to be in effect.

For television and radio stations, the notice provides:

  • Expedited handling of requests for special temporary authority (STA);
  • Waiving rules requiring stations to notify the FCC within 24 hours of use of an emergency antenna. Commission rules permit FM and TV stations to erect temporary antennas without prior FCC authority and let AM stations use a horizontal or vertical wire or a non-directional vertical element of a directional antenna as an emergency antenna.
  • Full daytime power may be used at night on AM stations to broadcast emergency information as long as it’s done on a noncommercial basis.
  • Waiving the current rule on limited and discontinued operations. The FCC will accept notifications within 30 days and requests to remain silent within 60 days of the discontinuance of operations.
  • Tolling broadcast station construction permit deadlines. Upon request, a permittee of a broadcast station in a federal disaster area will be provided an additional 90 days to complete construction.

For Cable Television Relay Service (CARS) stations, the notice expedites STAs for temporary facilities or modification to existing facilities to restore service. Operation under CARS STAs may commence immediately upon local coordination.

Compliance by MVPDs with many technical requirements of Part 76, Subpart K of the Rules has been waived for 90 days.

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