Monday, September 20, 2010

FCC proposes drop-dead date for analog LPTV

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order on the digital transition of LPTV stations.

The main points:

  • Is an analog shutdown date in 2012 reasonable for LPTV stations?
    (they don't say *when* in 2012)
    On the selected date, analog LPTV licenses would be terminated and analog construction
    permits would need to be modified to specify digital operation.

  • There is an oblique reference to a suggestion the power levels authorized to VHF LP-DTV stations might be increased...

  • More specifically, is it reasonable to expect LPTVs operating above channel 51 to move below by the end of next year?
    (They propose to require all LPTVs operating above 51 to submit an application to move below by June 30, 2011, and complete the move within the subsequent six months.)

  • Effective last Friday, a freeze has been instituted on the filing of applications for new analog LPTV and translators, and for new or modified LPTV stations (digital or analog) above channel 51. (I thought analog applications were already frozen...)

  • The Commission proposes to establish a "30-mile rule" for minor changes to LPTV stations. A transmitter site move that would end up more than 30 miles from the reference coordinates of the station's existing community would be considered a "major" change -- presumably only permissible during a filing window, and subject to auction in case of conflict with other applications.

    Under the existing rules, a change is "minor" if there is any coverage overlap whatsoever between the existing and proposed new facilities.

  • Comments on the NPRM are due in a bit over 60 days.

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