Dorian Delay: Repack Phase 5 Completion Extended


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thanks to the threat that slow-moving Hurricane Dorian still poses for vast portions of the Southeastern U.S. coastline, the phase completion date for phase 5 of the Transition Scheduling Plan for the post-Incentive Auction transition has been pushed back by five days.

Now, the completion date is Sept. 11 at 11:59pm, changed from Sept. 6.

The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau jointly announced the change late Tuesday, as Dorian finally began to crawl northward after wreaking havoc on the northern Bahamas — namely Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Grand Bahama is home to ZNS-3, at 810 kHz. As of Wednesday morning (9/4), the station was off the air. Aerial news footage shown on WTVJ-6 in Miami on Tuesday revealed widespread devastation — including a scene of a broadcast tower with its upper half gone.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, just 100 miles to the west, scattered rain bands and little damage provided relief but a startling juxtaposition to what could have been.

To the north, residents from the Florida-Georgia Line to North Carolina’s Outer Banks braced for flooding and beach erosion. One radio station group operating in Greenville-New Bern, N.C., that wished to retain anonymity told RBR+TVBR it is very concerned about any potential storm damage as Hurricane Irma’s 2017 devastation left the market soft economically.

The deadline change was prompted primarily by Dorian’s threat to the Carolinas. Many stations in phase 5 are in markets not implicated by the impending hurricane,
including, for instance, areas of western Georgia, Tennessee, California, and Minnesota.

As such, the FCC strongly encouraged these stations to stick to their original schedules.