Pai Predicts 350+ TV Stations Moved by COB Friday

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The FCC continues to work to modernize broadcast rules, and scrap those that are outdated or not needed anymore, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told attendees at the NAB Show late Tuesday. “Since beginning this process, the Commission has opened 14 proceedings, and we’ve issued a total of 11 orders. And we’re not done yet—we’re still actively working on several major modernization matters,” he said, noting the agency is still looking at ways to simplify “the unnecessarily complex” process for broadcast applications.

Noting that the public comment period for the quadrennial review of media ownership rules runs through the end of May, Pai sought input.

 “Rest assured, we won’t be deterred by those whose regulatory views are not guided by facts and reason, but instead were set in stone in the era of Laverne and Shirley, Starsky and Hutch, and Captain and Tennille.”

Concerning NextGen TV transmission, Pai said the Commission will begin accepting licensing applications for ATSC 3.0 facilities by the end of the second quarter of this year. “My bottom line is that broadcasters should and will be allowed to compete in the digital world and deliver consumer benefits without having to beg the FCC for permission,” said the Chairman.

Concerning the TV channel repack, he observed Phase 2 stations must have moved and completed their testing this Friday. “Well over 300 stations have transitioned off their pre-auction channels, including 130 reverse auction winning bidders that are now channel-sharing and about 200 of the 987 repacked stations,” said Pai. “And by April 12, the end of Phase 2, I’m confident that number will increase to over 350 transitioned stations.”

The FCC has approved about 17,000 repack invoices to-date, and nearly $450 million in reimbursements.

Turning to AM, the agency has granted AM owners 1,700 construction permits for new FM translators under the FCC’s AM Radio Revitalization Initiative. But with the proliferation of translators have come more interference complaints from full-power FMs. In May, the Chairman hopes the agency will vote on a way to streamline and expedite the interference resolution process.  

April 11, 2019

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