The FCC relaxed the rules regarding channel sharing arrangements as one of the many elements relating to the incentive auction, and now that the Federal Register has done its thing, the comment window is open.
Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters had pushed for the changes and was gratified when the FCC came through with them.
Comments are due 8/13/15 and reply comments 8/28/15.
At the time the new rules were announced, EOBC’s Preston Padden said, “Our Coalition is very grateful to the FCC Staff and Commissioners for listening to our concerns about the channel sharing Rules and then acting decisively to adopt new more relaxed Rules. The new Rules will greatly increase the feasibility of broadcasters entering into sharing arrangements and increase the likelihood of a successful auction.”
Summarizing a very lengthy document, the FCC stated, “In this First Order on Reconsideration, we refine those rules to provide greater flexibility and certainty regarding CSAs. Among other things, we modify our rules to allow broadcasters that relinquish rights in the incentive auction in order to channel share to enter into CSAs after the auction and, whether they enter into CSAs before or after the auction, to determine the length of their agreements. In the companion NPRM, we tentatively conclude that we should authorize channel sharing by full power and Class A stations outside the incentive auction context, including ‘second generation’ agreements in which one or both entities were parties to an auction-related CSA whose term has expired or that has otherwise been terminated. By providing greater flexibility and certainty regarding CSAs, our objective is to encourage voluntary participation by broadcasters in the incentive auction.”