The FCC’s Media Bureau reported that it is freezing applications for the digital companion channels for lower TV stations and translators effective immediately.
Those are the second channels that LPTVs and translators will need when they are required to make their own digital transition.
That comes as the FCC is about to close its broadcast incentive auction and starts repacking broadcasters in smaller spectrum space. LPTVs and translators are not protected in the repack.
The FCC says that because LPTVs and translators displaced in the repack will be filing displacement applications (for new spectrum homes) in a special window following the end of the auction and to make sure that the limited number of channels available go first to those displaced stations, it says it was appropriate to freeze new companion channel applications, particularly given that the FCC has postponed the LPTV DTV transition deadline until 12 months after the completion of the 39-month repack.
“[T]emporary postponement of the filing of applications for digital companion channels should not impact stations’ efforts to transition to digital.” the bureau said. It will continue to process applications already in the hopper.