ATBA Helps Secure $150M Refund for LPTV, What’s Next?

From Doug Thompson, ATBA Board Member

Well, there is good news and sort of bad news for the LPTV industry. Congress has passed a bill to allow LPTV station $150 million in refund money for their repacked stations. That’s the good news. The sort of bad news is the rules for getting that money have not been written and may not be completed until toward the end of this year. So, when you get your new channel and are all ready to buy your new equipment, say in July, you will have to wait another six months to get any kind of refund.

We have not been told who can get a refund, but it has been strongly hinted that only existing stations who must change channels will be affected. If that’s true, then about 1700 stations would benefit. The easy part is dividing the money. $150 million divided by 1700 is $88.235.29. As with anything FCC related, that would be too easy. Right now, we think stations will get between $50,000 and $75,000 each depending on their purchases and their refunds cannot exceed their purchase. And we think they may include existing stations who got to stay on channel as well.

One hang-up will be ATSC 3.0. If you want to go to the new standard, and the FCC says you can, you will need additional equipment at your head-end that will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. That will be a stop light for some who thought about going into ATSC 3.0 right away. But this equipment is necessary to use ATSC 3.0 the way it is intended to be used. The good news is as ATSC 3.0 matures, that equipment price will lower. So how long does the refund money hold out?

Right now, there are far more questions than answers for refund money. But we view that as a good thing. At the beginning of the year, we were on our own with no money to help us out at all. ATBA worked with Congress to pass this bill quickly and once they saw what we saw, it went smoothly. LPTV has an important place in television and now we are going for Permanence. That means once you get your new channel, or your CP built, you’ll get to keep it without fear of another spectrum grab by the Government.

So, we are happy to wait for the rules to be written for getting our refund. And we will work hard to get permanence going forward. In the meantime, please join ATBA and help us fight that fight and win.

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.


The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance