FCC R&O Expands Repack Expense Reimbursements to LPTV, TV Translator, FM Broadcasters

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission today adopted a Report & Order implementing Congress’s directive to expand reimbursements to cover the expenses of certain LPTV and TV translator stations as well as FM broadcasters affected by the agency’s TV spectrum repack.

The vote adopting a Report and Order fulfills the March 23, 2019, deadline set up by Congress in its 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA) that allocated additional funds to reimburse the eligible expenses of LPTV and TV translator stations, FM broadcasters as well as full power and Class A stations, MVPDs and set aside funds to educate consumers.

LPTV and TV translator stations must meet two eligibility requirements to receive repack-related expense reimbursement payments, including having filed an application with the FCC’ Special Displacement Window and obtaining a construction permit as well as being licensed and transmitting for at least nine of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017.

The R&O also covers repack reimbursement expenses of full and low-power FM stations and FM translators, licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017, that have facilities impacted by the TV spectrum repack.

Qualified expenses of FM stations include the cost of permanently relocating, temporarily or permanently modifying facilities or purchasing or modifying auxiliary facilities to maintain service while work on repacked TV stations proceeds.

The R&O also sets up a mechanism to reimburse these newly reimbursement-eligible broadcasters.

Responding to the vote, NAB EVP Communications expressed appreciation for the FCC staff’s expeditious work to implement REA. “Under a tight timeline, the staff worked incredibly hard to reach a balanced outcome that is as fair as possible given the challenges presented by the repack. We are committed to working with the Commission to ensure that tens of millions of viewers and listeners do not lose radio and TV service as the repack continues,” he said.

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Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.