Thursday - 3:00pm - 10/23/14

The Coalition has just learned, direct from the GAO (General Accountability Office), that the GAO has accepted and agreed to conduct the LPTV impact study for the two incentive auctions scenarios of 84-MHz and 126-MHz.  However, the study will not begin until early in 2015.  The last time the GAO studied LPTV it was to assess the impacts on us from the DTV transition.  Hopefully this time the study will be ready before the auction.  Then again, the real impacts will be known just after the auction and before we start our displacement application process.  As most of you know, our Coalition first proposed this study during the hearings on the LPTV bill in the House Subcommittee this summer, so thank a Coalition next time you talk/email them!

Here is the 2011 study, in which you will see that the GAO does quite a comprehensive job of analysis, and if only the recommendations they had offered were followed by the FCC and Congress.  Thanks again to the House members and Energy & Communications subcommittee staff for getting this request done in a bi-partisan manner...LPTV, and for that matter, the country, needs more of this!

Earlier this week the Coalition met with the Incentive Auction Task Force (IATF) to begin the discussions and comments related to the recently released (but not yet published in the Federal Register) 3rd Notice of Rulemaking for LPTV.  As you know these are the new proposed rules for LPTV in the post-auction period and cover such diverse topics as when we get to file displacement applications right after the auction, who gets to step on who and when, a new greatly expanded digital replacement translator service which has the potential of dramatically reducing available channels for LPTV, the future digital transition rules for the LPTV channel-6 aural/FM services, and other related items.

We actually have some news to report from this meeting, but we are still writing and filing our ex parte notice into the Proceedings, so we will detail it all in our next newsletter.  Let's just say that the "numbers" do not add up for why all LPTV is not auction eligible.

If you have not reviewed the full text of last week's two important LPTV related FCC documents, here they are.  

The auction has many moving parts and one of the key ones, and worthy of its own NPRM, is inter-service interference.  Like LTE to ATSC, ATSC to LTE, and more. And of course, LPTV can be greatly affected by this, in either direction.  Go to page 42 and onward to see yet another issue we need to be concerned with and comment on.  Auction Inter-service Interference NPRM

Current.org, published by American University's School of Communications here in DC (and in the shadow of the NBC tower with three LPTV on it) is reporting this week that the PBS/APTS/CPB appeals to the FCC for special consideration for their 565 TV translators over the rest of the LPTV licenses, well it has not worked. As the rest of the LPTV community has painfully learned, if it ain't in the Act, the FCC will not consider it.  Although you can throw out that rule, since the FCC does assert it has the ultimate authority to do anything it deems it needs to in order to both adhere to the basic tenants of the Communications Act, and to conduct a successful auction and repack.  So we bring you a new article all about this...we will again publicly here say that we totally support Big Bird in making sure 100% of Americans get access to PBS content. And LPTV licensees stand ready, willing, and able (hopefully), to provide paid carriage for PBS affiliates which find themselves without an underlying station to air on.

Check out this short article from Multichannel about the stopping, yet again, of both the Comcast/Time Warner, and the AT&T/Direct TV mergers. 

As most of your know, the Coalition has been collecting LPTV comments about these mergers and if you have one we should include in our official Comments into the Proceedings please do go here and fill out the form.  Recent reports from members around the country show a wide range of results, with one getting cable carriage after a year wait, another being denied after spending thousands on requested signal changes, and others being denied even after offering a barter for promotional air time and offering a major national digital sub-channel which the primaries air.  Don't forget, both Comcast and Time Warner (and we suspect other MVPD) say they can pick and choose LPTV stations to offer special zero-cost leased access to carriage...they own the pipes, so they make the rules (but I thought the leased access rules were suppose to prevent this...oh, no...those are for "maximum rates"!  Make your horror story trying to get carriage heard!


We are glad to report that our backlog of LPTV Auction/Repack DMA Studies is starting to be worked on. Our process stalled while we upgraded to new machines and getting that pesky TV Study software installed.  But we are almost done with that process and have begun working on the new methodology and studies.  While there is no way to absolutely know what will happen in the auction and repack, especially now with those DRT's which are threatening the loss of the number of LPTV channels, we think we can help you work through the process.  So if you have ordered a study, get ready to see the results.  Thanks for your patience, it will be worth it.  Order a Post-Auction DMA/Repack Study


Mike Gravino, Director
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition