Monday - Jan. 5, 2015

New Year To Start With A Bang For LPTV
The LPTV industry will be starting off 2015 with major comments to be filed by January 12th for the LPTV NPRM related to the Incentive Spectrum Auction and subsequent channel repacking.  The Coalition has put up a webpage with all of the resources you will need to craft your own Comments into the Proceedings.  Each day this week we will be showcasing the questions which the FCC is asking so that you can keep up with the action.

Shock And Dismay At US Spectrum Policy
Louis Libin, the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, whose goal is to preserve and promote the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum, and represents many LPTV and TV translator stations, wrote a guest blog in The Hill.  In this piece Libin laments how the Incentive Spectrum Auction has been designed and implemented. Check it out and see how many in the broadcast industry feel about the process. 

Comment:  While Libin makes well reasoned arguments, most all of which we agree with wholeheartedly, the Coalition does need to point out, that ALL LPTV licensees and permittees are totally protected in the Incentive Spectrum Auction and channel repacking by existing law and Congressional mandate, which we shorthand into what we call, "The LPTV Right of Displacement".  This means no licensee or permittee will lose their right to go find another channel assignment, first in their current city of license, next in their DMA, and under specific conditions in adjacent DMA.  In practical terms this will be difficult in many markets if the FCC continues to attempt to conduct an auction for the entire 120-MHz it originally has talked about, and is still planning for. However, the FCC has recently signaled it may only be able to go for the 84-MHz clearing, from 51-38.  If so, the Coalition believes that the 2,650 or so LPTV and TV translator stations and permittees between 51-38, some 90% of the spectrum there, could be accommodated from 36 and below, again in most markets.  The Coalition was challenged by the Incentive Auction Task Force in December to prove our claim of this, and we will soon unveil a plan for exactly how to do this.  Stay tuned...

Just Who Is An Incentive Auction Speculator?
Our friends over at EOBC, Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, filed into the Incentive Spectrum Auction proceedings one of their website blog entries.  It goes into detail just what they think about being called "auction speculators".  Check it out.

Market Is Still Hot For Buying Up Local TV Stations
The Pew Research Center, using BIA/Kelsey industry research data, reports that TV station transactions totaled about $5 billion in 2014 through the end of November.  The Coalition will be reporting this week the total number of LPTV and TV translator stations and construction permits which are part of this total, and their valuations.  Very interesting patterns are emerging for our industry.

AWS-3 Auction Gets Ready To Restart
With more than $44 billion in bids already logged into the FCC's current AWS-3 auction, it reopens this week.  Our friend, Steven Wilkins, the CTO of
Spectrum Financial Partners has produced a short video about the results so far.  Since this auction is a direct precursor to what could happen in the Incentive Spectrum Auction, it is well worth reviewing what Steven and his company is visualizing for us.
Auction 97 progress Round 139 Dec 23, 2014
Auction 97 progress Round 139 Dec 23, 2014

This Year Looks Busy Already in DC
Multichannel News writes about the key issues which are going to be driving the FCC and the Congressional agenda's.  There were a lot of this type of articles late last month, but we think this one gets it right.

Early Present For Faith Broadcaster
RBR reported last week that ION Media Networks, one of the potential big players in the Incentive Spectrum Auction as a seller of spectrum, has "gifted" 9 LPTV stations in 8 TV markets to Marcus Lamb's Word of God Fellowship, and his Daystar Network.  

The markets and stations reported are:

W40BO Boston MA

WMPX-LP Dennis MA (Boston)

WIXP-LP Indianapolis IN

W48AV Detroit MI

KPXG-LD Portland OR

WNPX-LD Nashville TN

KPXH-LD Fort Collins CO

WPXB-LD Daytona Beach FL

WPXU-LD Amityville NY (Nassau-Suffolk)



From the Coalition standpoint this is a very interesting transaction, and it could signal the beginning of a great deal of similar ones going forward. What will be important to know from both parties is the actual amount of the write-off that ION is allowed to take, or, what the value of the stations is claimed to be.  While none of the stations/licenses are auction eligible, they do represent significant spectrum assets in major markets.



Fierce Cable Reports On How Streaming Is Eating Into Linear TV Audiences

Check out this article about the statistics around what could be a major shift from linear TV to on-demand digital.  While we all know this is happening, it is also important to see how the loss of cable subs does not necessarily turn into more linear eyeballs, or does it?

Chicago Channel-6 LPTV Analog Radio Service Attracts Major Player 

The following was reported last week by the Robert Feder blog in Chicago and we thought you might like to read about it here since the future of channel-6 operations is part of the LPTV NPRM comments next week.


"Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based parent company of The U, Me-TV and other iconic television channels, is about to extend its brand into local radio for the first time. Sources said the company has reached an agreement to lease WGWG LP 87.7, now home of Tribune Media's ill-fated sports/talk format known asThe Game 87.7 FM. Contracts have not yet been signed, but insiders said it's a done deal.


Venture Technologies Group owns the license for WGWG LP 87.7, a low-power television station that has been operating as a FM radio station under a variety of formats since 2008. Under the agreement, Weigel Broadcasting is expected to take over 87.7 FM on February 1 and program a music format on the station from its television facilities and offices at 26 North Halsted Street. A radio studio is said to be under construction at the site. With the demise of The Game, effective at 11 p.m. Wednesday, Tribune Media will begin simulcasting news/talk WGN AM 720 for one month, according to the Chicago Tribune. The deal with Weigel Broadcasting effectively lets Tribune Media off the hook for its lease with Venture Technologies Group, which ran through September 2015.

Although this will mark Weigel Broadcasting's first foray into radio, several of the company's top executives are seasoned radio veterans: Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting, began as an intern at WLS AM 890, was a producer, production director and head of programming at WIND AM 560, and was general manager of a north suburban station at 1330 AM. Cheryl Esken, director of strategic sales and marketing at Weigel Broadcasting, spent nine years as regional vice president of sales for Clear Channel Communications' seven Chicago stations, now under the iHeartMedia brand."


ATSC 3.0
The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is now saying that they may totally leapfrog the ATSC 2.0 new TV standard and go directly to the new 3.0 interactive standard.  This is an important update which all of us need to stay abreast of, especially now that the Incentive Spectrum Auction is pushed back well in 2016 or further.  This new 3.0 standard could literally come out before the auction takes place, and that could be a game changer for us all.

New Plug and Play TV On-Demand TV Services
Check out this article with lots of links to the wide variety of USB and HDMI plug in devices which you can now use with your modern digital tv set.  This is how the above mentioned ATSC 3.0 services will be introduced into your home.

And let's take a journey back to the future - the year is 1963, and the first "pay TV system" is being rolled out.  If you want to see what this new revolutionary system looked like 51 years ago, you just got to check this out!
And now back in 2015 there is Tablet-TV, whatever the heck it is...
TabletTV is now available in the Bay Area where tablet owners can enjoy up to 50 digital broadcast network and local channels! Following the launch in San Francisco, TabletTV will begin to rollout to major markets across the US in 2015. Once you have your TabletTV you can take it with you to anywhere in America and watch and record what's on in any city.

Why Has The MMTC Forgotten About LPTV?
The Minority Media & Telecom Council, which for decades in DC has been the leading group representing the interests of minorities in broadcasting, and many times the LPTV industry, has for a few years now abandoned its' overt support for LPTV.  It still tries to make money from brokering LPTV stations, but it has not been providing any advocacy for LPTV at all, despite the fact that the most diverse owners of broadcast properties are LPTV owners!  The Coalition met in December with the new MMTC Executive Director and asked that LTPV be put back on their agenda, but we see that their big Broadband and Social Justice Summit this month with many Congressional and FCC officials does not include any agenda items for LPTV.  As if LPTV innovators have not been trying to get broadband into the mix of what they can do with their spectrum.  Sorry folks, the time for lip service to LPTV is over. 

Losing One Of Our Own
We are sad to report that Dr. Paul Broyles, long-time LPTV station group owner, and founder of the International Broadcasting Network, a small group of faith-based stations, has passed away late last week in Texas.  Paul was a tireless and articulate advocate for LPTV, his faith ministry work, and for fairness in how the FCC and Congress should treat small businesses.  We all will miss Paul's almost daily postings about what should be done to protect and enhance the LPTV industry.  

There is a lot going on folks, so get ready to make 2015 the year the LPTV industry makes a stand for its' future!

We Got Your Back LPTV!

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