ATBA TO FCC: DON’T DISMANTLE LPTV AND TRANSLATORS

The full text of the comments may be viewed HERE.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 7, 2014/ The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA) filed important ex parte comments this week with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in GN Docket 12-268, commonly known as the “Spectrum Incentive Auction.” These comments reiterate the factors that should drive the FCC’s approach to the auction with respect to Low Power Television (LPTV) stations and translators.

 

“In our ex parte filing, we stress that the FCC does not have authority from Congress to simply dismantle the LPTV and translator industries or to achieve the same result by conducting the auction without consideration of the impact on these vital local services,” states Louis Libin, ATBA Executive Director. “The FCC must undertake all reasonable efforts to preserve LPTV and translator facilities to the greatest extent possible.”

 

The FCC has taken the position that LPTV and translator stations are “secondary” for all purposes within the auction. A position that the ATBA respectfully disagrees. Because LPTV was designed to “fill in the gaps,” interference protection from primary (Full-Power) broadcasters could not be guaranteed. With this in mind, LPTV was given “secondary status” to the Full Power Television service in resolving interference issues. Never was the intent for LPTV to be secondary to other wireless services.

 

Libin continues, “I find it incredible that our government along with vested interest parties are forcing a process whereby scores of broadcasters will be forced out of business. The elimination of smaller stations known as LPTV stations will translate into fewer niche broadcast stations that serve diverse local communities, linguistically isolated people groups and religious audiences.”

 

The ATBA also believes that flexible use would give LPTV and translator licensees more options to maintain and grow services and preserve coverage. Flexible use has a proven track record of promoting innovation.

 

“Our country was built on innovation and broadcasters want an opportunity to pursue advance technologies in the marketplace,” according to Lee Miller, ATBA Communications Director. “We understand that the job given to the FCC by Congress is a difficult one and we do not oppose an inclusive spectrum auction. The ATBA is ready to work together constructively with the FCC to find solutions that adhere to the statute and respect the interests of all stakeholders. A continued informed dialogue on the enduring value of free and local television for all Americans benefits our nation.”

 

The LPTV service was created in 1982 designed to fill a void in communities that were not fully covered by full power broadcasting. LPTV stations were also created for niche broadcasting to address the need of minorities, women, and special interest groups, and for broadcasting in rural areas where full power stations were not able to serve the communities effectively.

 

“As stated in our comments, LPTV broadcasters provide diverse voices, offer niche programming, and extend full power network and independent stations’ free over-the-air television service to areas that otherwise would be unserved,” says Rod Payne, ATBA Chairman and an LPTV Station owner. “Unlike almost all other electronic media, LPTV broadcasters continue to be “mom and pops” – hometown businesses that serve their communities with local church services, local sports and cultural coverage, weather alerts, and programming for varied ethnic and linguistically isolated audiences.”

 

“The LPTV industry is just now getting back on its feet from the digital repack and transition. These “mom and pop” operators had to make large investments for new transmitters, antennas and broadcast infrastructure to conform to the digital standard. Many others had to move out of the way for a full power station and had to spend even more money filing for a new frequency. Yet they continue to provide a unique level of localism, and the FCC must act in the public interest by minimizing the impact on, and loss of, that unique localism.”

 

The full text of the comments may be viewed HERE.

 

The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance is an industry organization comprised of low power television broadcasters, translators, full power television broadcasters and allied industry organizations and companies.  The goal of the Alliance is to preserve and promote the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum. Visit www.BroadcastingAlliance.org for more information and to join.

 

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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 https://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ 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.

Respectfully,

The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance