LPTV: Will It Survive? The Alliance Comments on Today’s Congressional Hearing

December 12, 2012 – The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance applauds Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas) for calling for protection of all Low Power Television Stations (LPTV) in the upcoming spectrum auction and repack.

At today’s Energy and Commerce hearing (“Keeping the New Broadband Spectrum Law on Track”), Barton made it clear that he understood the intention of Congress is to protect all licensed TV broadcasters including LPTV.  Members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee heard all five FCC Commissioners answer questions about the Spectrum Auction.

Congressman Barton reminded the Chairman that the intent of Congress was to protect broadcasters and it would therefore not be their intention to force Low Power TV broadcasters off the air or remove them from their market.

“I didn’t envision that we would have the end result that a low-power television station would simply end up off the air,” Barton addressed to the Commissioners. “And so, I would like to ask the (FCC) Chairman and the other Commissioners if, in fact, you are willing to commit that low-power television stations that have acted in good faith -they understand that they might have to move, or be repacked -but I personally believe it’s not fair at all if the end result is that a low-power television station, that has been a good licensee, ends up totally off the air.”

FCC Chairman Genachowski replied to the Congressman that the question was not answered yet. “…it’s a difficult question which we have not answered yet and we look forward to working with you and getting very robust input from stakeholders as part of the process.”

Barton continued to press the issue for an agreement for LPTV protection. “But can we agree….as a Committee and a Commission that we are going to take steps that make sure that if a low-power station has operated in good faith and complied with its existing license, that we will make an effort to keep them on the air?”

“We will work with the LPTV Community,” Chairman Genachowski stated in his testimony. “We have an obligation, as has come up a number of times, to act within the statute. Certainly, keeping LPTV stations on-the-air where we can is something that makes sense, but at this point we haven’t made a proposal on this; we have an obligation to listen to the record, act consistent with the statute and we’ll continue to work with you, and the other members of the Committee, and the LPTV community to ultimately reach the goals of the statute some of which as you pointed out are in tension with each another.”

The Alliance believes the proposed Voluntary Incentive Auction as authorized by HR 3630 must protect the pre-auction spectrum usage rights of all LPTV & Translator operators.  It is understood that these Stations are considered “secondary” to Full Power and Class A services with regard to interference issues, and will therefore be ineligible to participate in the Auction.  Neither will they be compensated for expenses in moving to a different channel in their market should they create interference for a Full Power or Class A protected TV Broadcaster.  However, the licenses, and all current spectrum usage rights of LPTV licensees should be officially protected by HR3630 as enacted by Congress.

Rep. Barton’s questioning can be found: http://youtu.be/jtu0uZ6xB38

The Alliance especially thanks Congressman Barton for speaking up for LPTV operators around the nation that have been asking the question about their future,” says Lee Miller, Alliance Communications Director. “Thousands of communities stand to lose their local community channels, many of them “mom and pop” and minority broadcasters if the FCC is allowed to confiscate their channels without recourse.”

The Alliance is preparing comments to the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding implementation of the Voluntary Inventive Auction and urges all LPTV operators to do the same.

Says Miller: “If the FCC has an open ear, it needs to hear from the LPTV industry.”

ABOUT

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