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We Are Communications Law Attorneys & Station Owners!
As active radio and television station owners ourselves, and decades representing owners like you, we understand not just the legal issues, but we know first hand your purchasing, licensing, regulatory compliance, operations, and construction challenges. But when it comes to the FCC's Incentive Auction issues, and how they affect LPTV owners like us, we get support from the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition!


BROADCASTERS V. FCC


In yesterday's first court battle related to the Incentive Auction, the Coalition was there in a packed stately courtroom, along with representatives from the FCC, NAB, CTIA, CEA, legal firms, and of course, the trade press.  The broadcasters had two cases combined together from NAB and Sinclair Broadcasting.  NAB is challenging the way the FCC is proposing to potentially change OET-69 and how these changes could dramatically influence how both interference and pop counts are used in the auction itself, and the channel repacking process. Sinclair Broadcasting, which  seeks review of the order on the grounds that it "was adopted in excess of the Commission's authority; violates the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012....is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act and violates Section 5(c) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. � 155(c); and is otherwise contrary to law."

Since the security guards had taken away everyone's cellphone, tablets, and computers, the attention was fully on the oral arguments, and of course the three judges themselves. My impressions from having literally a front row seat is that the judges want to simplify at arguments, and clarify what is being presented to them, and they are always asking about the remedies available.  What is being asked of them is not so cut and dry and easy to understand, even for many in the industry.  What is the intent of Congress? If they used very specific language did they really mean it, or does the FCC still have broad discretionary powers to  interpret it in a totally different way for the greater goal of a successful auction.  So much hinges on so little.  While not quite to the level of what the definition of "is" is, did Congress mean that OET-69, as it was in Feb. 2012, is it then frozen in all ways as of that date, and since footnote #123, paragraph J, subsection P, of Ruling X, in 1995, just how does not related to 2010 Census data being used instead of...well you get the picture.  

LPTV was indeed mentioned, and the entire 21 words about it from the legislation were actually quoted in Court.  Seems that a really big part of the Sinclair challenge is all about how the FCC is interpreting "coverage areas", and does that indeed include the digital-digital translators (DRT's), and since Congress did not protect the out-of-contour translators of an auction eligible entity, should the FCC be protecting those also with its discretion.  So, while the direct issues of LPTV secondary status, and LPTV not being in the auction, nor receiving protection in the repacking were not directly in the oral arguments, I could sense that this Court, as seated, if they were brought the LPTV grievances, they just might be receptive to them.  

Then again, a great deal of deference is given to the FCC in its' role to develop the rules, and implement them. And we just may have a good case in that the FCC claimed in the original auction NPRM and in the subsequent Report and Order that it had the power to extend channel repacking protections to LPTV, but chose not to, since it did not think it would help achieve the process of the auction.  The Coalition, which declined to enter the court process with NAB and Sinclair, entered into the reconsideration process instead, and when that process is completed, we will then have the opportunity to seek our own day in the Court.   

These legal processes take time for sure.  And as NAB and Sinclair did, by filing to go to Court within the 60 days after the Report and Order came out, we and others will be able to do that soon if we choose, when the LPTV Report and Order comes out. So LPTV still has in 2015 two bites at the apple here folks.  But let's all work hard to understand and communicate our basic requirements for operating post-auction, and demand that we are found channels to relocate to, and get to use the new ATSC 3.0 standard when it is approved.  The legal process will work itself out over time, but we need now, today, and in the next few months, to frame our future business operating and regulatory framework.
THE MAY 29TH DEADLINE IS FAST APPROACHING TO QUALIFY YOUR ANALOG CLASS-A FOR THE AUCTION.  DO YOU NEED EQUIPMENT FINANCING FOR YOUR CLASS-A DIGITAL BUILD-OUT?  WE CAN HELP YOU FIGURE IT ALL OUT!

The Coalition has seen a need for immediate and favorable equipment leasing and working capital for analog Class-A stations which need to complete their digital build-out's by May 29, 2015.    FINANCING
UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY'S STORY...

THE GRAY TELEVISION PROPOSAL TO THE FCC TO OPEN A CLASS-A WINDOW UNTIL THE END OF 2015 FOR THOSE LPTV LICENSEES WHICH CAN DEMONSTRATE SUBSTANTIAL LOCAL CONTENT DISTRIBUTION AND MAKE A COMMITMENT TO IT. 

1)  Gray's 100+ stations are all from markets 64 and above, and as such, their proposal is not reflective of the major market LPTV, where the channel leasing model is dominant.  So their proposal disadvantages many of the largest LPTV with the largest population coverages.  It can be said that the Gray proposal is counter productive to both the protection and enhancement of the public interest in sheer numbers of communities and people served (although in the Gray communities it will be served - is this a "gray area"?

2)  By having a short qualification period, and basing it on a calendar date, and not a "process date", Gray is dramatically limiting who, when, and where the qualification can be used.  The qualifying date should be linked to a date which is related to the auction and repacking itself.  If the Coalition backed the concept of a priority for the repack concept, which we at this time just do not, we would suggest that a Class-A window for repacking priority be just before the FCC runs the optimization model for the repacking, which will be some time 3 months post auction.  From today, this could be at the earliest 18 months from now.

3)  We think Gray is making a big miscalculation by looking to the past to gauge how they should protect their assets in the future.  No one ever thought Class-A status would be a qualifier for the auction and the huge windfall it would yield its users. (and shouldn't think will happen again in the future).  If we all knew that, we all would have become one.  Class-A was suppose to be about serving the community through a required public interest obligation, not as a way to make that windfall.  Gaining a primary status of protection was what it was suppose to be about (as Gray states is their intent).   But going forward post Incentive Auction, all remaining LPTV should have that protection, and not just those who can afford to quickly squeeze through an short window.  

4)  Our newsletter article about this issue was viewed over 1000 times already, and more than 200 readers wanted more information about it.  But only 14 of you actually took the survey we have posted.  This small number of respondents does however represent 12 existing Class-A's, more than 75 built and operating major market LD's, and over 200 new construction permits.  The total population count of these few but large respondents far exceeds 2X the Gray 29 million pop count of their 100+ stations.  

So we urge more of you to take the survey so that we can expand the sample size as see if the results so far continue as a trend or change.  We welcome any new ideas about how to help us all, and let's see if this one has the legs to get us to the finish line in this marathon. And again a hat's off to Gray for helping promote solutions for LPTV.

Current Results (without the comments which are key, and we will share next week.)

REMEMBER, IT IS ALL ABOUT WHO SHOULD GET A PRIORITY 
AND WHEN,  IN THE POST AUCTION CHANNEL REPACKING

SAVE LPTV RALLY SPONSOR & COALITION MEMBER
With over 150 years in combined development experience, Anywave is proving to be a world leader in the design and manufacture of broadcast transmission equipment.  We supply LPTV and TV translator stations throughout the country.

LPTV DDSA-QUALIFIED STATION BACKER ASKS  FOR  A PRIORITY IN THE POST AUCTION REPACK
from the letter...

"U.S. Television, LLC ("USTV") has participated in the above-referenced proceedings to defend the rights of low-power television stations identified by Congress in the LPTV Pilot Project Digital Data Services Act (the "DDSA"). The DDSA grants certain LPTV stations the right to use low-power TV spectrum to distribute two-way wireless data services, directing the FCC to maintain a pilot program that authorizes these stations to provide such services to viewers in their services areas. 

USTV has advocated in this proceeding that the FCC must follow Congress's directive in the DDSA by ensuring that all stations covered by the DDSA have first priority access to displacement channels during the TV spectrum repack that will follow the upcoming TV broadcast incentive auction.2 In previous filings, USTV has emphasized that granting the requested priority will not restrict the FCC's flexibility in the post-auction repack because the statute was designed to protect only thirteen (13) low-power television stations in the entire country. In fact, due to changes in circumstances for some stations since passage of the DDSA, as set forth on the attached summary, grant of the priority requested by USTV (and mandated by the DDSA) actually would require displacement priority for at most nine (9) low-power stations."  

read it all here...check out the charts of the licenses which have NEVER done anything with their unique status and opportunity...the Coalition has literally been the biggest backer of using the DDSA as a vehicle for all of the LPTV to gain flexible use status.  But we have filed comments into the LPTV NPRM challenging this blanket priority status, and we think that if any of these do not want to continue to have this status they should simply declare it so that others, which we know there is a long line of, would do build out systems.  

Build it out now or let someone else do it!



SAVE LPTV RALLY SPONSOR


Visit the Spectrum Evolution Hospitality Suite on Sunday and then 
come by and attend the SAVE LPTV RALLY  starting at 
6:00 PM downstairs at the Westgate!

LPTV ENGINEERING SPONSOR

 


Broadcasting Services are what this company was founded on. We proudly serve AM, FM and television stations, broadcast station ownership groups and networks, along with national trade organizations, nationally recognized and start-up television programs and governmental agencies.

7724 Donegan Drive

Manassas, VA 20109-2868


(703) 392-9090 - Manassas, VA - (202) 332-0110 - Washington, DC

(646) 513-2997 - New York, NY

 

If you have not yet used our FCC data tool, please do!

 

FCC WATCH

FCC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR TRIBAL OFFICIAL TO SERVE ON THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
 

(DA No.  15-312)  Nominations Due: April 10, 2015. CGB

 

Contact:  

Gregory Vadas at  (202) 418-1798email: Gregory.Vadas@fcc.gov or 

Steve Klitzman at  (202) 418-1763email: Steve.Klitzman@fcc.gov

TTY: 1-800-835-5322


The mission of the IAC is to make recommendations to the Commission on the many communications issues affecting local, state and Tribal governments that are within the jurisdiction of the Commission. These issues range from major Commission policy priorities such as implementation of expanded broadband adoption and deployment, especially in unserved and underserved rural areas and 
Tribal lands, to improved public safety communications, facilities siting, universal service reform, and public rights-of-way.


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TWO WEEK EXTENSION GRANTED TO FILE COMMENTS IN MVPD PROCEEDINGS 14-261

Promoting Innovation and Competition in the Provision of Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Services


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INCENTIVE AUCTION TASK FORCE INFO SESSION 
IN MID-WEST AND LAS VEGAS

Locations and Dates 
March 30, 2015: Cincinnati, OH 
March 31, 2015: Columbus, OH 
April 1, 2015: Cleveland, OH 
April 6, 2015: Louisville, KY 
April 7, 2015: Indianapolis, IN 
April 13-14, 2015: Las Vegas, NV (in conjunction with the NAB Show. General session to be held April 14, 12:45 pm to 2:00 pm)

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FCC announces March 26th Open Meeting Agenda which includes STELA.
Market Modification: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement Section 102 of the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014, which directs the Commission to adopt rules that permit the modification of a commercial television broadcast station's local television market for purposes of satellite carriage rights, including the promotion of consumers' access to television broadcast station signals that originate in their State of residence

SAVE LPTV RALLY SPONSOR



 

Syes - System Engineering Solutions has successfully manufactured broadcasting equipment since over 30 years in all analog and digital worldwide broadcasting standards (ITU, DVB-T/T2, ISDB-T, ATSC, ISDB-T, DTMB, DAB/DMB).




MAKE SURE TO COME TO THE RALLY SUNDAY NIGHT OF THE NAB SHOW!!
Let Us Know You Will Be There

The Coalition's SAVE LPTV RALLY is going to be an event you will not want to miss if you are coming to the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  
If your organization wants to help sponsor this unique event now is the time to do it!

CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL
THE WESTGATE

RSVP      SPONSOR

LPTV LUNCH SPONSOR

 
Spectrum licenses are commonly acquired not only from the Federal Communications Commission, but also from incumbent licensees in the secondary market. Such transactions, which include both spectrum sales and leases, comprise a significant part of the practice of  Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth,  PLC attorneys. 

We assist clients in targeting potential acquisitions, negotiating purchases and sales, drafting the transaction documents, assisting in financing arrangements where needed (with special attention to unique FCC restrictions), handling the associated FCC application process, and then making closing arrangements.

1300 North 17th St., 11th Floor

Arlington, Va 22209 

Francisco Montero

703-812-0480 - montero@fhhlaw.com

 


 

Convention 2015  RENO, NV   

May 15, 16 & 17, 2015

 

Topics:

  • Strategic Policy Matters related to Spectrum Repacking.
  • Technical Engineering Items for Digital TV delivery.
  • Alternative Programming Sources for subchannels.
  • FM Translators VS LPFM Stations Rulemaking

Program:  Please note the 2015 program is not available at this time but will follow the timeline format of the 2014 Program listed below with changes to topics and speakers. 

 

Got an idea for a presentation at the NTA Convention? 

Call John Barnett, Convention Chairman, 509-939-5468 

or email j.bps.llc@gmail.com

 

CONTACT INFO 

 

 

LPTV LUNCH SPONSOR

 

Elettronika offers a complete range of equipment for transmitting and transposing TV signals. Providing individual devices as well as high-power turn-key systems. Assisting and supporting the customers before and after the sale.
NEWSLETTER SPONSOR & COALITION MEMBER


Luken Communications is a national multicast television network provider offering a wide range of programming choices.

RESERVE YOUR FULL PAGE AD IN THE COALITION'S NEW INDUSTRY DIRECTORY
NAB SHOW PRINT EDITION

POST-AUCTION 
DMA REPACKING STUDIES
Learn As Much As The Big Players Know!

Our new DMA Channel Repacking Study is based on the May 15th 2014 FCC Spectrum Auction Report and Order, as well as the 144-MHz clearing target and new National Band Plan.  It is a non-engineering analysis of a TV DMA as it is today and how it may look at the time of the LPTV repacking process.

 

We use the latest FCC simulations per DMA which were 

created to provide the basis for the two Greenhill Reports 

of auction-eligible station values.

 

Learn More

COALITION MEMBERSHIP
Free Membership For All LPTV Licensees!

So how can we offer a free membership and still get all of this work done here in DC?  Well, we provide a lot of services which LPTV and TV translator licensees need from filings into the FCC proceedings, the DMA Repacking Studies, arrange contracts for carrying networks on your channels, and most importantly, we take on direct assignments for advocacy from licensees.

We also get a lot of direct support for our own specific research projects which are funded to help the entire industry.  And these have become the best of what we have been able to offer for the defense of LPTV in the Incentive Auction process.

No one interest group controls us, and we work for the best interests of the many.  As LPTV licensees, operators, and investors, we know what you are going through and your challenges.  Like we say...
Mike Gravino
Director
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition
(202) 604-0747
lptvcoalition@gmail.com
http://www.lptvcoalition.com