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FCC’s LPTV Digital Conversion Order Effective Aug. 26

Federal Register publication triggers appeal deadlines

The LPTV digital conversion deadline Report and Order from the FCC has now been published in the Federal Register.

That means the new LPTV R&O becomes effective Aug. 26.

To recap, the commission last week adopted a hard deadline of Sept. 1, 2015 for all LPTVs to end analog operations and convert to digital. The agency established how stations could obtain an extension, required existing analog and digital low-power television stations on CH 52–69 to submit displacement applications by Sept. 1, 2011, and to end operations in the 700 MHz band by Dec. 31, 2011. The agency increased the power limits for VHF low-power television channels to 3 kilowatts, the current analog power limit.

Of interest to radio, in the LPTV decision the FCC seems to have rejected the notion of repurposing analog TV Channel 6 as part of the FM band, “apparently deciding to maintain this channel for TV use for the foreseeable future,” wrote David Oxenford of David Wright Tremaine. He added: “The FCC did note, however, that LPTV stations, as secondary stations, must protect full-power FM operations in the noncommercial band. That question has come up from time-to-time in the past without a clear answer.”

Petitions for reconsideration are due (to MB Docket 03-185) by Aug. 26 and petitions for judicial review by Sept. 26.

— Leslie Stimson