TV Repack Shot-Clock Starts in April With Tower Crews in High Demand

The FCC’s shot-clock begins ticking for television broadcasters in mid-April. That’s for the 90 days to file construction permits and 39-months total time allotted for the channel repack. During construction, a station may file for a CP extension due to delays caused by weather, the unavailability of a tower crew or tower lease disputes, according to an FCC auction webinar presentation. “Rare and exceptional” cases of financial hardship may be grounds for an extension too, such as a bankruptcy proceeding.

The Commission plans to release an auction closing and channel reassignment notice in mid-April, FCC officials said during the webinar, Broadcasting and Cable reported. Assuming no weather-related delays, that mid-April time frame is predicated on the auction closing March 30. Asked whether the transition might start later because many broadcasters plan to attend the NAB convention at the end of April, Incentive Auction Task Force Deputy Chair Jean Kiddo said no and that hopefully, stations can use the time at NAB to coordinate with other stations.  

Would the agency consider allowing a station to begin broadcasting from its new channel early? The Commission will review those requests on a case-by-case basis, taking into account how that might affect the entire transition — including the availability of tower crews and equipment, according to the account.  

March 15, 2017

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