FCC Now Taking UHF Discount Comments


The FCC is now accepting comments on a petition for reconsideration of the Commission’s decision to end a discount for UHF broadcasters, which the Democratic majority nixed on the grounds that technology has rendered the discount outdated.

The petition, from Ion Media Networks and Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, has been published in the Federal Register.

This means interested parties have until Dec. 27 to comment; reply comments are due Jan. 6, 2017.

The petition may not be heard by this FCC, however. This is exactly what Ion and Trinity Christian Center are counting on, as a forthcoming Republican-led FCC will likely revisit its multiple ownership rules.

The FCC in early September eliminated its 30-year-old UHF discount, in a 3-2 vote along party lines. GOP-aligned Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly were the dissenters.

If upheld by the new FCC, TV station owners will no longer be able to discount the coverage of UHF stations when calculating their compliance with the national audience reach cap. The FCC notes that the shift to digital transmissions, along with proliferation of cable television and DBS services over the last three decades, would lead to this decision.