Has your low power TV station been displaced by the repack? Or perhaps your FM radio station had to move to new or auxiliary facilities to accommodate a TV station repack on your tower? As we have discussed in previous blog posts, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has been authorized by Congress to distribute reimbursements to the licensees of Low Power TV (LPTV) and TV translator stations, as well as to FM stations, for costs incurred to accommodate the post-Incentive Auction TV Repack. Today, the FCC announced the opening of a window for all such impacted station licensees to submit initial eligibility and cost information. 

LPTV/translator and FM stations looking for reimbursement from the FCC fund must file their initial Reimbursement Form (Form 2100, Schedule 399) by 11:59 PM on October 15, 2019. The Form 399 can only be launched through the Licensing and Management System’s (LMS) online filing portal; there is no filing fee.

LPTV/translator and FM station licensees seeking reimbursement must also complete Form 1876 in the Commission Registration System (CORES) Incentive Auction Financial Module to submit their banking information for future reimbursement payments. In other words, to get any money for which you might be eligible, you have to file this form as well.

What to provide in the Form 399:  for both LPTV/translator and FM stations, licensees will be required to provide basic operating information, such as equipment makes and models for existing (or pre-modification) facilities, as well as actual invoices or estimates of the costs incurred and expected to be incurred as a direct result of the Repack. Estimates of costs not yet incurred can be in the form of vendor quotes or can, for now, simply taken from the approved cost catalog.

Eligibility Restrictions for LPTV/Translators: to be eligible for reimbursement funds, LPTV/TV translator station licensees must demonstrate that they were granted a displacement construction permit from an application that was filed in the 2018 Special Displacement Window. The station must also prove (with documentation!) that it was (a) licensed or had an application for license pending on April 13, 2017; and (b) was transmitting for not less than 2 hours a day, for not less than a total of 28 hours per calendar week, for 9 of the 12 months prior to April 13, 2017.

Eligibility Restrictions for FM Stations: FM station licensees seeking reimbursement eligibility must demonstrate that the TV Repack caused, or will cause, one of the following to occur: (a) permanent relocation of the main FM transmission site; (b) temporary dismantling all or some of the main broadcast facilities; or (c) the construction or modification of interim auxiliary facilities. Stations claiming costs for interim auxiliary facilities must further certify that the move resulted (or will result) in a loss of 20% or more of its normal coverage area or population.

As a reminder, it is expected that the funds available for reimbursing eligible stations likely will not cover more than 50-70% of costs incurred, but free money is better than no money – don’t miss out! File your Forms 399 and 1876 before October 15! As always, contact FHH for assistance or to answer questions.