Last week, the Commission adopted transition progress reporting requirements for broadcast television stations that will be changing channels during the post-incentive auction transition, but that are ineligible for reimbursement from the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund. The Commission had already decided back in January that TV stations eligible for reimbursement from the Fund would be required to report their progress by detailing the status of their construction and how they have spent reimbursement funds.
We wrote about this initial January decision here. As a refresher, full-power and Class A television stations involuntarily reassigned to a new channel are generally eligible for reimbursement of repack expenses from the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund, while stations that successfully bid to move to a new VHF channel, as well as those electing to request a service rule waiver, are ineligible for such reimbursement. As of last week’s Public Notice, Non-Reimbursable Stations will now be required to file the same Transition Progress Reports that the Commission previously adopted for Reimbursable Stations (you can find a copy of the form in Appendix A of the January Public Notice).
The Commission seeks to keep tabs on relocated stations’ transitions to their new channels to ensure that the new wireless band is cleared as efficiently as possible. To this end, the Commission noted, the progress of Non-Reimbursable Stations will be no less crucial than the progress of Reimbursable Stations. The Commission also concluded that monitoring the progress of only Reimbursable Stations would paint an incomplete picture of the repack transition. Commenters uniformly supported extending the reporting requirements, and noted that tracking the transitions of all relocated stations will be necessary because Non-Reimbursable Stations will compete with Reimbursable Stations for the same resources needed to transition to new channels.
Both Non-Reimbursable and Reimbursable Stations will file the same form and at the same filing intervals. Specifically, both types of stations must file the Transition Progress Report electronically on a quarterly basis. Stations must file their first Report, which will cover the first full quarter after release of the public notice announcing the completion of the incentive auction, by October 10, 2017. Thereafter, stations must file a Report: 1) 10 weeks prior to their assigned construction deadline; (2) 10 days after completing construction of post-auction facilities; and (3) five days after ceasing broadcasting on their preauction channel.
FHH has a team ready to assist with your post-incentive auction transition. Please contact us for assistance in filing a Transition Progress Report, or with any other questions about post-auction procedures.