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“Franken FMs” Get Longer Life

FCC lifts digital transition deadline for LPTVs, TV translators

So-called “Franken FMs” are getting an official reprieve from the FCC.

The commission had been reviewing its patchwork of rules that don’t explicitly forbid low-power television broadcasters that essentially operate as FM stations on 87.7 and 87.9 MHz. Some radio operators claim they’re receiving interference from LPTVs acting as FMs and those aren’t operating the way the commission intended. The LPTVs say they are operating within the law.

Now, because of the upcoming incentive auction and subsequent spectrum repack, the Media Bureau has suspended the Sept. 1 deadline for LPTVs and TV translators to end their analog transmissions and transition to digital. The suspension is so that LPTVs and TV translators can avoid the cost of building digital facilities before they know if they’re going to take part in the incentive auction and subsequent repack.

However, the Sept. 1 digital transition deadline is still in place for Class A TV stations. Those that have not finished building their digital facilities must let their analog channels go silent while they finish construction.

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