Repack Costs Crystalize for FMs, LPTVs, TV Translators

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The costs of co-locating on a TV tower involved in the channel repack is getting very real for FM owners. Now is the chance for them, as well as owners of Low-Power TV and TV translators, to tell the FCC about the financial impact of the repack. The agency is seeking public input on its proposed catalog of reimbursement costs for services like tower rigging and new equipment.

The agency believes the catalog will facilitate the reimbursement process, much like it is for full-power and Class A TV stations. It was developed by a third-party tower consulting firm, to identify price ranges for potential services and equipment, based on a market survey of industry vendors.

Estimated expenses for existing towers are included, ranging from $16,400 to $25,600 for tower mapping and a structural engineering report. Widelity estimates $5,100 to $12,300 for a structural engineering study for a guyed or free-standing tower.

New tower construction estimates are $1,700 per foot for a tower shorter than 500 feet and up to $2,560 per foot for 1,000-foot to 1,500-foot towers. The agency notes: “Costs may be higher for tower sites with difficult soil conditions. Footings, piers and foundations, and guy anchors may not be included” in these estimates.  

Rigging fees paid to tower crews to install or remove antennas and/or transmission line  are estimated at $31,190 to $81,190 for towers shorter than 500 feet. The cost estimates jump from $102,500 to $205,000 for 500-foot-to-1,000-foot towers.

The Commission notes costs are “variable” for towers over 1,000-foot or complex towers such as candelabras, or those that have stacked antennas or are terrain-constrained. Other estimates, such as fees for RF consulting engineers, field engineers and attorneys, are also included in the catalog. So, too, are fees for new transmitters, antennas and transmission line.

The agency asks for comments on the price ranges and if any types of expenses stations are likely to incur are missing. Comments (to MB Dockets 18-214 and 16-306 and GN Docket 12-268) are due by November 21. Comments? Email us.

October 23, 2018   

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