Earlier this week, the FCC announced the first of its post-auction filing windows for TV stations that are forced to abandon their current channels as a result of the repacking of the TV band after the broadcast incentive auction. As a result of the shrinking of the TV band, many TV stations were required to change channels so that all stations could fit into the smaller TV band. The first window, open from August 9 to September 8, is for a limited number of TV stations that fall into two classes: (1) 25 repacked stations that were granted a waiver of the July 12 filing deadline for applications for initial construction permits because the FCC agreed that those stations were unable to construct the facilities that the FCC assigned to them when they were repacked; and (2) any repacked station or any other station entitled to protection that is predicted to experience a loss of population served in excess of one percent as a result of the repacking process. More details of the requirements for this first window are in this week’s FCC announcement of the window.
There will be additional windows, about which we wrote here. The next window later this year will be for repacked stations that want to maximize their coverage on their new channel. The facilities that they were assigned in the repacking notice were meant to replicate their current service area, but on their new channels some stations may be able to increase power or coverage. A third window, opening probably in 2018, will be for LPTV and TV translators who are displaced by the repacking to find new channels on which to operate (see our articles here and here). Obviously, if any station can take advantage of possibilities offered by one of these windows, it should stay alert for these upcoming filing dates.