The FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice announcing the immediate freeze on the filing of minor change applications for LPTV and TV translator stations. This is to stabilize the FCC’s database so that applicants in the upcoming window for the filing of displacement applications by LPTV and TV Translator stations displaced by the incentive auction will have an opportunity to locate new channels on which they can operate. Translators and LPTV stations were displaced both because of the contraction of the TV band after the incentive auction repurposed TV channels above 37 for wireless uses, and because full-power and Class A TV stations were repacked into the remainder of the TV band, in some cases onto channels that would cause destructive interference to the service provided by LPTV and translators which are secondary to full-power TV stations.
The Commission has promised to open a window for the filing of “displacement” applications for LPTV and TV translator stations where they can seek new channels in the core TV band on which they can operate. We wrote about the FCC’s plans for that filing window here. Now that this freeze notice has been issued, we would expect that the dates for the displacement window will be announced shortly. The announcement of those dates is supposed to provide give 60 days’ notice of the opening of the window, and the window is to last 30 days. If your stations are affected, keep your eyes open during the holidays for announcement of the window dates, which we expect will put the filings in the early part of next year.