LPTV Entities Submit Amended Brief

On Sept. 28, six low-power TV entities filed an amended brief to challenge when the FCC order made in October 2015 would require wireless carriers to “commence operations” in the 600 megahertz band after the incentive auction and the agency’s order made in December 2015 on channel-sharing by LPTV and TV translator stations after the sale.

A U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit granted a petitioners’ motion unanimously to amend the briefing schedule after the court previously made a ruling to reject a similar case. That case was the “Make Communications v. FCC” on Aug. 30. A three-judge panel rejected a challenge to the FCC’s incentive auction rules, and the arguments that FAB and the other LPTV entities had made in their pending case were rejected, at least in part, by the ruling judges.

“The twin orders challenged in this care represent a cruel and arbitrary FCC game of spectral musical chairs,” said the Sept. 28 brief. “Going even further than the prior auction decisions reviewed in Mako Comms., LLC v. FCC, No. 15-1264 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 30, 2016), under the challenged orders ‘many’ LPTV licensees will be forced to shut down because the Commission has decided to completely clear a huge swatch of former television spectrum used by LPTV licensees, the 600 MHz Band, of all LPTV broadcasters entirely, without regard to actual or potential interference with full-power TV stations or other ‘primary’ services. The steps that the FCC says ‘mitigate’ that virtually certain harm do nothing to alleviate the loss of licensed spectrum on which to televise and admittedly offer only a ‘possibility’ they ‘may’ be financially helpful to ‘some’ LPTV licensees.”

The brief claimed the orders were unlawful for four reasons.

Firstly, it claimed the FCC blatantly ignored the command made in the 47 U.S.C. § 1452(b)(5) to not alter the LPTV’s “spectrum usage rights” in the television band reorganization. Secondly, the brief claimed the FCC’s orders were “arbitrary and capricious for two reasons.” One, they said the past is clear that channel sharing does not solve disruptions in service. The LPTV stations argued that the agency’s hopes to perhaps help a few LPTV stations was “based on no record data, analysis or substantiated projection.” Then the LPTV entities argued the FCC orders reversed their own “long-standing rule authorizing LPTV licensees to broadcast ‘secondarily’…without either acknowledging or explaining this untoward change.”

Thirdly, the brief claimed the FCC orders vilated the Regulatory Flexibility Act because they failed to quantify “significant adverse economic impact” of their rules on the LPTV owners and because the FCC took no steps minimize that impact.

Finally, the biref said the FCC Commission’s actions raised serious constitutional issues “as an impermissible delegation of regulatory power to private parties in violation of due process and an arguable Fifth Amendment taking of private property.”

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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
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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