Members of the Washington State Broadcasters Association have fired off a letter to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) warning her that any move to repack television stations in her state may have dire consequences if a treaty is not first in hand with Canada. Murray is a key focal point in the matter, via her position as co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
The Association pointed out that two key Washington market – Seattle-Tacoma and Spokane, are within the 250 mile Canadian buffer zone (as are many more stations in other border states).
Additionally, WSBA pointed out that of the 204 full and low power stations licensed to operate in the state, fully 84 are located above Channel 30 and would be required to move. It believes that there would be a home available for only one of them. 14 of the impacted stations would be full power stations in either of the two previously-mentioned DMAs.
“Therefore,” wrote WBSA, “we ask that you help ensure that before the FCC can repack the television band, or before the FCC can relicense broadcast spectrum, that Congress require that a new memo of understanding, agreement or treaty with Canada be finalized… Without such a requirement, Washington’s television viewers could lose access to their favorite broadcast entertainment, sports, weather and emergency information. We are asking for your help to prevent this from happening.”
WSBA underscored the fact that it does not oppose incentive auctions, as long as they are done carefully with no damage done to free over-the-air television service.
The full letter can be read here.
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