Wednesday - 12/10/14

This is shaping up to be a busy hard news week, but we wanted to start it off with a rumor...seems that one of the legal counsel to an FCC Commissioner is telling folks who meet with him/her that LPTV are "secondary for everything", contrary to current law which is that LPTV is secondary only for interference purposes, and only for primary television services.  Word of warning to said counsel - if we hear you say this, in what can be claimed to be an ex parte session related to the auction, we will publicly call you out. Your job is to serve the public's interest, and it is not to spread mis-information.  Staff does not make law, it carries it out.

And now for the hard news...

Low Power/Television Translators: Proposed Construction Permits
The FCC's Video Division continues to work on the large backlog of applications it has for LPTV and TV translator permits.  The link here takes you to the latest small group of them which are now approved.

NAB Expresses Concerns To FCC 
The FCC's optimization of auction eligible stations, which will occur after the incentive auction bidding, is designed to minimize the number of channel reassignments or the costs of repacking for broadcasters.  Broadcasters will be able to comment on such plans and offer modifications for six months after the auction.  However, FCC staff has argued that because optimization analysis is time-consuming and complex, it can only be done after the bidding and not during the reverse auction--something the NAB objects to. 

The FCC is also proposing an optimization for the LPTV displacement repack, which will happen six months after the auction. Hmmm...we think that the FCC should do an optimization NOW, based on the interference simulations they have already run!  


Make sure to make your contribution to our industry's common legal defense, and be part of the movement to save LPTV.  Unless we fight the auction rules and regulations now, and in court in 2015, we will not have a lot of spectrum remaining to displace and rebuild into in 2016-2020.  
LPTV Day At 2015 NAB Show In April - What Does It Mean?

There was an announcement late last week that the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), have done a deal to host an "LPTV Day" at the NAB Show in April in Las Vegas.  They say there will be day long activities during the convention which will include seminars and workshops specific to LPTV and Translator issues. Further, ATBA also will host again the annual LPTV Industry Awards and Reception at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort that Monday evening.  While this all sounds great, it definitely is something new for NAB to do and is much appreciated for sure.


But it is the schedule of who is invited to speak, the topics, how the LPTV vendors and networks are treated, and can ATBA create an evening event that is better than what it has done the last couple of years...these are what we would like to know about.  Also, is this really about the LPTV and TV translator "industry", or is it about NAB wanting to make sure they protect their own member-affiliated translators, their digital replacement translators, and/or ATSC 3.0 which is what ATBA has been promoting?


The LPTV NPRM, which is in the first comment period from now until mid January, will look hard at the NAB digital replacement translator issue.  If not highly regulated and governed by the FCC they could wipe out a lot of LPTV channels.  Plus the major movement within the translator space are civic, tax-district, and non-profit community translator systems.  And they want to become more LPTV-like so that they can air multiple channels of their own. These groups in many cases have to even pay a retrans or distribution fee for the networks they air, and which before they translated.


So let's have an LPTV Day at NAB.  But the above issues need to be on the agenda.  LPTV in the auction does also.  How to defeat the auction if LPTV can not get what it needs is another.  How much relocation funding and from where, all of these are important.  The GAO study on the impacts of the auction on LPTV and translators should be also.  While ATSC 3.0 is a nice conversation, we need technical discussions about IP delivery of networks, broadband antenna choices, the new wave of encoders, the channel-6 FM opportunity, and a lot more.  But we are in survival mode here folks.  We need to be able to confront the enemy head on, the FCC.  And we need to have the space to do it without any filter which NAB might want to impose on us.  Hopefully they will let us come out swinging like we did at the 2014 event.  And hopefully, we will not have to pay for it.  


What we do not need Monday night is a luke warm rah rah session with weak boring speakers, ie, the same old crowd.  We need a serious hard nose, rally the troops political event.  The evening hotel event space that has been used for years now, and food which comes with it, come to over $25k itself, and that is a lot of money sucked from vendor sponsors which could be used for advocacy and lobbying.  Plus you got to pay for your own drinks.  We need a smart day and night event.  Good luck, we will help as we can.  But if it is about one group's agenda and promotion, well that dog won't hunt.




Last year the Coalition hosted (and paid for) a two-hour daytime info-session during the NAB Show which had over 225 LPTV licensees and industry reps attend.  We had the FCC Media Bureau Chief attend and got to grill him on the record about LPTV and the auction.  

Video & Transcript can be seen here 


We are almost done with our backlog of 
DMA Auction Studies, and we have made a breakthrough which enables us to explain very quickly to you what might happen to your station.  These studies are based on the latest FCC auction interference data.

Check out our

Do You Know The Status Of Broadband Deployment In Your Market?
Here is a link to a nifty website tool to see how much local broadband is deployed in a given area.  While it does not map exactly to your TV DMA coverage areas, it will show you what could be the next level of LPTV opportunity if you choose not to be a broadcaster any longer, or combine your TV business with an IP business.



In January the new 114th Congress will be sworn in and there will be many new Congressional staff and elected Representatives to educate about LPTV issues.  This is a crucial activity for our Coalition and we need your help to fund the state by state education process.

Thursday FCC Open Commissioners Meeting

The Federal Communication Commission will hold its final Open Meeting for 2014 Thursday 12/11/14, and among other things, it will discuss the incentive auction and a list of other items involving a number of broadcasters.

The spectrum auction item will include discussion of "...specific proposals on auction design issues such as determination of the initial clearing target, opening bid prices, and the final television channel assignment process."

The consent agenda addresses stations with a wide variety of issues, including enforcement actions and appeals, new stations, CP applications and transfer applications. 

The Green Hill Presentation
By this time most if not all of you have seen the Greenhill presentation commissioned by the FCC to promote the auction to the broadcasters.  It is a lovely fairytale of Class-A stations being worth $230 million, and stories of once in a lifetime opportunities.  Just in time for your holiday reading in case you missed it or threw it away the first time you saw it.


Did you know that as an LPTV licensee that if you file Comments into the LPTV NPRM process the correct way you instantly gain status to take the FCC to the Court of Appeals (assuming some other standard legal conditions)?  Give your business the gift of having the standing to sue the pants off of the FCC about the Incentive Auction this New Year.  We can help you and your legal counsel, just ask!  Comment filings must be submitted by Jan. 12th, 2015.

The LPTV NPRM Document
Again, in case you have misplaced it, never saw it, thought it would go away by not talking about...well here it is folks, the official LPTV 3rd NPRM, not to be mistaken for the 1st or 2nd (still haven't figured out what those are, but it kind of has a ring, the 3rd, like we have been warned!). Hey, you got until January 12th to get Comments in.  Either speak up for yourself and your license, or we will do if for you, and you many not like what we have to say.

Have You Read The New Part 15 NPRM?
I know, you are busy running your station, representing your clients, installing something or another...but hey...you gotta read this document, because in it the FCC is proposing to give unlicensed users and TV White Space companies the same if not higher priority as you, a licensed service. Wake up folks, the enemies are at the gates and all you got for protection is a few front line troops staffing the ramparts.  The wireless internet service providers are getting meetings with the Commissioners to plead their case, and LPTV is still waiting for the same opportunity.  Those of us here in DC need you all out their in the hinterlands to start to wake up and get involved.

If you are not already a member of the Coalition, or have not yet made your contribution to our LPTV Legal Defense Fund, it is time to do so.  Later this week our new official trade association 501c6 structure will be in place.  We need all of you involved as best you can, and for as much as you can afford. 

LPTV is fighting battles on all sides and it will only be by working together and funding our collective legal defense which we can all survive the Incentive Auction process.


Mike Gravino
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition
(202) 604-0747

Some of you wanted to have access to previous newsletters, so here are the past few so that you can catch up on what has been happening in LPTV land.