Media Bureau limits future modification requests

The FCC Media Bureau will begin limiting requests from full-power and Class A television stations to modify their coverage area as the agency prepares to conduct incentive auctions and repack TV spectrum, according to a public notice released April 5.

More development and analysis of possible methodologies to be used for the repack are necessary, the notice said. “This work requires a stable database of full-power and Class A broadcast facilities,” it said.

Thus, the bureau said it has stopped accepting modification applications until further notice for changes to the existing television service area that would increase a full-power station’s noise-limited contour or a Class A station’s protected contour beyond the area that results from their existing parameters.

Nor will it accept Class A displacement applications that would increase a station’s protected contour. However, the bureau will accept minor change applications needed for Class A stations to make a flash cut to DTV transmission.

The Media Bureau also said it will accept on a case-by-case basis waiver requests when a modification application is needed for technical or other reasons to maintain quality service to the public. The public notice cited zoning restrictions making tower construction at a specific site and weather-borne events requiring relocation of a tower as examples of circumstances under which it would accept an application for modification.

Pending applications for modification of full-power and Class A stations will be processed if they do not increase the former’s noise-limited contour or the latter’s protected contour. Those existing applicants requesting such changes are being given 60 days to comply with the new limitation or to request a waiver.