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NPR Says TV Repacking Will Impact FM Broadcasters

Group seeks funding for FM antenna relocation

This article originally appeared in TV Technology.

This week the deadline passed for filing comments on Public Notice DA 13-1954 which sought comment on the Catalog of Eligible Expenses and other issues related to the reimbursement of broadcaster channel reassignment costs. One of the more interesting filings was from National Public Radio, which expressed concern over the impact of TV channel changes may have on FM radio stations (Comments of National Public Radio, Inc).

The organization stated: “NPR supports a flexible approach to accommodate particular circumstances affecting individual broadcasters, including nonprofit and governmental licensees of NCE stations.”

NPR also noted that it appreciated the FCC’s inviting comment to identify additional expense categories, but argued: “An equally direct cost, but one not reflected in the proposed Catalog, concerns the dislocation of radio station transmitting antennas and related hardware as a result of the television station reassignment. NPR therefore urges the Commission to provide reasonable reimbursement for such expenses and incidental service costs pursuant to the Spectrum Act.”

NPR further argued: “The direct causal link between the television spectrum reassignment and the costs of relocating radio station transmitting antennas is far from conjectural.”

The Catalog of Eligible Expenses notes that most stations moving to a new channel will require a new antenna and if replacement or addition of antennas is required it may be necessary to modify the existing tower or construct a new tower. NPR said these tower modifications or construction “will often dislocate other tower users, including radio stations,” noting that it may be necessary to temporarily relocate transmitting facilities.

NPR concluded: “These and similar costs should be reimbursed pursuant to the Spectrum Act in a variety of circumstances. When a television station is reassigned to a new channel, and the television station licensee also operates a radio station transmitting antenna that is forced to relocate temporarily or permanently, the licensee should be reimbursed for the reasonable expenses associated with relocating the radio station transmitting antenna, both temporarily and permanently, as well as [for] the costs of related services, equipment, and other incidental obligations.”

See my article FCC Seeks Input on TV Station Repacking Expenses for more information on expenses associated with the television replacing plan.

I’m still reviewing the other filings on the costs of relocating TV broadcasters and will report on those next week.