A NAB-commissioned study conducted by V-Soft Communications has found that more than 600 FM stations could be affected by a TV repack, which involves over 1,100 TV stations changing channels or going off the air. Many of the TV stations require antenna replacements or other tower work that could take days or weeks.
The potential impact on FMs is chiefly from RF exposure concerns. If an FM and a TV station share a common tower or are on nearby towers, workers for the TV station could face RF hazards unless the FM reduces or turns off power. “While many FM stations have auxiliary antennas that can help reduce downtime, many do not; and the expenses of constructing an auxiliary facility and revenue loss are generally not considered reimbursable by the Incentive Auction Broadcast Relocation Fund,” said Robert Weller, NAB’s vice president for spectrum policy.
Weller said that 452 TV stations planning to change channels could affect the operation of 629 nearby FMs, and more than 100 of those FMs are affected by three or more TV stations; some are affected by as many as six.