On November 22, 2023, the FCC circulated a draft Report and Order (“R&O”) that would, if adopted, provide some Low Power TV stations with the opportunity to convert their stations to Class A status. The draft Report and Order is slated to be voted on at the FCC’s next Open Meeting on December 13, 2023.
If adopted at the Open Meeting, the R&O would implement the requirements of the Low Power Protection Act (“LPPA”) for this filing window, including eligibility criteria, requirements based on local production of programming, operation requirements, and interference requirements, as well as other items.
Generally, the LPPA limits filing eligibility to those LPTV stations that can demonstrate that they operated as of January 5, 2023 in a DMA with not more than 95,000 television households. Further, during the period of October 7, 2022 through January 5, 2023 (i.e., 90 days before enactment of the LPPA), stations must have satisfied all of the requirements both for LPTV stations as well as for Class A stations under the Community Broadcasters Protection Act, which established the Class A TV service. Lastly, converted stations would be subject to the same terms and renewal standards as a full-power TV licensee and would generally be required to remain in compliance with the LPPA’s eligibility criteria during the term of the station’s license.
The FCC has not yet indicated when the filing window would open, but the R&O provides that the window will be open for a period of one year, absent circumstances that prevent a licensee from timely filing, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Stay tuned for updates on this filing window, and if you have any questions regarding the draft R&O or the proposed filing window, please contact your FHH attorney. Happy Thanksgiving!