The FCC is starting to allocate the reimbursement money for FM stations affected by the TV repack, beginning with $17.2 million to be disbursed to 87 radio stations that met its qualifications.
The FM spectrum in the United States was not subject to the television spectrum repacking process; but as we have reported, some FMs with antennas on or near a tower supporting a repacked TV antenna may be affected if, for example, the FM antenna must be moved, temporarily or permanently.
Congress provided $2.75 billion for the Reimbursement Fund, with up to $50 million to reimburse FM radio stations. Now this initial allocation step enables the Media Bureau to start reimbursing FMs that submitted approved invoices.
The commission says it has received 93 submissions from FM stations, of which 87 met the requirements. The FCC said each will receive an email communication describing the results of its review, and that the approved stations may now begin submitting documentation of actual expenses incurred for approval to be drawn down against their allocations. Those stations will upload invoices or receipts and resubmit a reimbursement form using a Media Bureau’s online data system.
The FCC added that it is holding back a percentage of total estimated costs to ensure that eligible entities don’t face an undue financial burden but also with an eye on reducing the likelihood of the FCC having to “claw-back” payments later. “We will monitor closely the drawdown of the fund as well as revisions to initial cost estimates to determine if additional allocations are warranted. It is therefore important that eligible FM stations seeking reimbursement timely submit invoices after incurring costs.”
The FM stations seeking this funding muse certify that they meet the required eligibility criteria and provide documentation or other evidence to support their certification. They also must report estimates of the types and amounts of repack-related costs that they expect to incur, relying on a range of costs set out in an FCC Cost Catalog or on their own estimates or actual expenditures. The FCC then reviews the eligibility and estimate submissions and issues an initial allocation from that $50 million.