Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Licensees Continue to Wrangle Over Reimbursements Items

Media Bureau notes several procedurally improper petitions in this involuntary channel change case

The Federal Communications Commission continues to weigh in as two stations renew their tussle over issues surrounding channel change reimbursement. The FCC has now warned one of the licensees that it has begun to abuse the submission process by submitting unauthorized pleadings.

The issue began when the Media Bureau modified the license of Prescott Valley Broadcasting station KPPV(FM) in order to accommodate the upgrade of an Entravision station in Arizona. In cases such as these — an involuntary channel change case — the commission also ordered Entravision to reimburse Prescott for legitimate and prudent costs of changing KPPV’s channel. 

But throughout the process, the reimbursement negotiations have proven contentious. Even though the commission offered general guidance regarding different categories of expenses, Prescott disagreed with that guidance; Entravision disagreed with that in return. A second expense letter clarified that Prescott still did have the right to request reimbursement of expenses — although some of the listed expenses were reimbursable while others were not. 

Prescott disagreed, however, and it filed another petition and took issue with the findings the bureau made in its most recent letter. 

The Media Bureau responded to Prescott’s petition by first saying it was procedurally improper and should be dismissed. The reason: The petition seeks reconsideration of an interlocutory action, also known as a judgement that does not finally settle the issue of a case. The bureau also reaffirmed its original finding of the first petition and reiterated that neither the first or second expenses letters fully decided the issue of what was reimbursable. “It would have been impossible for either letter to do so because [Prescott] has yet to incur many of the expenses it has indicated it believes qualify for reimbursement,” the bureau said. The bureau said it was also worth noting that neither letter terminated the bureau’s oversight of the parties’ reimbursement negotiations.

In fact, as the commission reminded the two groups, each letter contained language clarifying that the bureau’s oversight would continue. Most importantly, the bureau said, the letters clearly indicate that there is more for the bureau to do.

“The letters do not represent the consummation of the Media Bureau’s decision making process,” the commission said.

But the commission did clarify that Prescott would have the opportunity to seek reconsideration once the bureau has made a final determination regarding the totality of Entravision’s reimbursement obligations. 

[See Our Business and Law Page]

The bureau also noted that Prescott does retain the right to challenge the findings made in the expenses letters at a later point in this proceeding. 

However, the bureau said in its letter that it was “sufficiently concerned” about Prescott’s conduct and, as a result, it will take Prescott’s conduct into consideration when the time comes around for its next license renewal — primarily because Prescott abused the submission process by submitting unauthorized pleadings, despite the commission’s admonition that it refrain from doing so.

“Furthermore, we hereby warn [Prescott’s] counsel that the submission of additional requests for reconsideration of interlocutory orders will not be tolerated and may result in a referral of counsel’s behavior to the commission’s Office of the General Counsel,” the bureau said in its order.