On Friday The Federal Communications Commission approved the 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act – authorizing the reimbursement of low-power television, TV translator and FM broadcast stations for costs incurred as a result of the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction repack.
The Report and Order concludes that LPTV and TV translator stations are eligible for reimbursement if they filed an application during the Commission’s Special Displacement Window and obtained a construction permit, and were licensed and transmitting for at least nine of the twelve months prior to April 13, 2017, as required by the REA.
NPR’s Vice President for Policy and Representation Michael Riksen said this is good news for bystander radio stations. “We’re pleased that the Federal Communications Commission and staff responded to the concerns of public radio stations, and worked quickly to adopt rules to reimburse FM stations for their costs to stay on the air during and after the TV repack. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC so the reimbursement process unfolds smoothly.”
The 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA) expanded the list of entities eligible for reimbursement for post-incentive auction transition-related expenses to include these categories of stations in addition to full power and Class A TV stations and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), which are already being reimbursed with funds provided under the Spectrum Act. The REA provided additional funds to be used for this purpose, as well as to reimburse full power and Class A stations and MVPDs, and it also provided funds to the Commission to be used for consumer education purposes. Adoption of this Report and Order satisfies the REA’s statutory deadline of March 23, 2019.