UHF Discount Oppositions, Replies Get FCC Extension


On Sept. 7, the FCC abolished its 30-year-old UHF discount, in a 3-2 vote along party lines.

The Commission concluded that, “as a result of the DTV transition, the UHF discount can no longer be supported on technical grounds.”

GOP-aligned Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly were the dissenters on the Commission.

There was also a bit of “dissent” outside the FCC, with one major owner of UHF stations particularly concerned, and that led the Commission to grant a petition for reconsideration of its Report and Order.

The petition came from Ion Media Networks and Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, and was published in the Federal Register. That meant interested parties had until Dec. 27 to comment; with reply comments due Jan. 6, 2017.

According to Andrew Schwartzman, counsel for Free Press, Common Cause, the Media Alliance, and the United Church of Christ Office of Communications, that’s not enough time. On Dec. 15, he filed a motion for extension of time to file oppositions and replies in response to the petition, and the FCC agreed.

Thus, there is a 14-day extension of the deadline to file oppositions (until Jan. 10, 2017), and a 17-day extension of the deadline to file replies (until Jan. 23, 2017).