Docket Opens For Repack Reimbursement


As expected, the Media Bureau on Thursday opened MB Docket No. 18-214. That’s the formal name for what is commonly known as “Ray Baum’s Act,” which expands the scope of reimbursement from the FCC’s spectrum auction repack process to radio stations while giving extra cash to TV station owners.

This sets the stage for a vote at the FCC’s August Open Meeting on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on rules to implement the Congressional passage of the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act, or RAY BAUM’S Act. It is named for the former committee Staff Director and long-time friend of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.). Baum died of cancer.

Spectrum repack allocation legislation is a large part of the Act, and it authorizes a repack fund to address the shortfall in funding available to relocate broadcasters being displaced following the FCC Incentive Auction. It also establishes new relocation funds for translators, low-power television, and radio stations that will be impacted by the repack—supplemented by a consumer education fund.

The new relocation funds will be allocated over two years, and includes $600 million for the first year and $400 million for the second.

MB Docket No. 18-214 is captioned LPTV, TV Translator, and FM Broadcast Station Reimbursement; Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions.

Presentations are subject to “permit-but-disclose” ex parte rules.

Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation
or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).

Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.