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Sunset Date for Analog LPTV and TV Translator Stations Less Than a Month Away

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On June 11, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released what is likely to be a final reminder to licensees of low power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations and to permittees of new digital LPTV and TV translator stations about the forthcoming July 13, 2021 analog sunset date. LPTV and TV translator stations and permittees will lose their authorizations on July 13 unless they have licensed their digital facilities or taken other necessary actions before that date.

Existing analog LPTV and TV translator stations may no longer operate any facility in analog mode after 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021. Additionally, all construction permits for LPTV and TV translator stations to flash cut to digital will expire as a matter of law on July 13, 2021. If an analog LPTV or TV translator station does not have a valid digital construction permit as of 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021, its analog license will be canceled as a matter of law and its call sign will be deleted. Therefore:

  • Analog LPTV and TV translator stations that have not yet filed for a digital construction permit should do so immediately. The FCC released a list of LPTV and TV translator stations that did not have digital construction permits as of June 9, 2021, which can be viewed here. The list appears to be overinclusive, as it includes a number of LPTV stations that obtained construction permits for digital companion channels that were assigned new facility identification numbers.
  • Analog LPTV and TV translator stations that need additional time to complete construction beyond July 13, 2021 should immediately file an application for extension of their digital construction permits, which should include a request for a waiver of the March 15, 2021 construction permit extension deadline. Although the FCC may provide additional time for stations to construct their digital facilities, those stations must still terminate analog operations by 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021 (meaning they will need to go silent).
  • Stations that will remain silent for more than 10 days must also file a suspension of operations notice and request for a silent Special Temporary Authorization (STA).

Permittees for new digital LPTV and TV translator stations must complete construction of their digital facilities, begin operating, and file a license to cover no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on July 13, 2021.

  • Permittees for new digital LPTV/translator stations that need additional time to complete construction beyond July 13, 2021 should immediately file an application for extension of their digital construction permits, which should include a request for a waiver of the March 15, 2021 construction permit extension deadline.
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