The FCC has lifted the freeze on Class A displacement applications, site changes, and power increases, as of August 4, 2008.
The lifting of the freeze will allow the following:
- Class A stations that are displaced because of interference may apply to change to a new channel, using either analog or digital format.
- Class A stations seeking to change transmitter site or to increase power so as to extend their existing 74 dBu contour may now apply to do so.
- Out-of-core stations (Channels 52-69) may apply to move to in-core channels (2-51) if they can find an available channel.
- Applications previously filed by out-of-core stations to move into the core or to transfer their Class A status to in-core channels, previously held in suspended status, will now be processed, without any further action required by the applicant.
- Analog Class A stations seeking to flash cut to digital operation may do so, even if their coverage area is increased.
The lifting of the freeze will not:
- Allow the filing of new companion channel digital applications – applications for a second channel for digital use.
- Convert any second companion channel from LPTV to Class A status.
- Apply to move to a channel that will be abandoned by a full power analog station on February 17, 2009, unless you application assumes that the analog station will remain on the air and protects that station.
However, Class A analog stations that hold a construction permit for a digital companion channel and are receiving analog interference may be able to displace their analog operation to their digital channel, thereby ending up with only one channel – their digital companion channel – but transferring Class A protection to that channel.
Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, which means that if there is any conflict among applications, the earliest filed will be given priority. Priority is also given to displacements from out-of-core channels to in-core channels. Applications filed before August 4 will be treated as if filed on August 4 for purposes if first-in-time priority.
If you want to apply for a power increase, channel change, move to an in-core channel, or displacement with Class A protection on a new channel, you must file by August 4 to be sure of not losing out to someone who files on or before that date. Consulting engineers are likely to be swamped with requests for assistance; so if you want to file, please call your engineer immediately.