NAB urges FCC to hold public meetings on incentive auction, repack

NAB has called on the FCC to conduct a series of public hearings to increase the openness and transparency of the process that will lead to an incentive auction and repacking of television broadcasters in a smaller swath of spectrum.

During a meeting July 5 with FCC chief of staff Michele Ellison, NAB Executive VP, Strategic Planning Rick Kaplan said the hearings, which could even be part of the agency’s monthly open meeting, would give the commissioners and their staffs the chance to hear from both industry and the public interest community at the same time.

At the meeting, which was recapped in a July 9 letter from NAB to FCC secretary Marlene Dortch, Kaplan explained that the public hearings could also assist the agency in meeting the recommendation of its National Broadband Plan to inquire more deeply about how the auction will impact diverse communities.

Another important topic covered during the meeting was the Media Bureau’s three-month freeze on broadcast TV station modification applications. Kaplan recommended during the powwow that the agency immediately move forward to resolve questions regarding which full-power and Class A broadcasters will be protected and the extent of such protection.

According to NAB, the record is complete on these issues and the agency does not have to wait on other aspects of the incentive auction to determine which stations are protected and what sorts of encroachments the FCC can make on the populations and coverage areas served by broadcasters who choose not to participate in the auction.