An advocacy group for low-power television owners and TV translators is at its wits end trying to get a full picture of how many such stations may be displaced after the television spectrum repack.
Free Access & Broadcast Telemedia joins several members of Congress who have also sought answers.
“The FCC euphemistically characterizes the intentional and unconstitutional taking of LPTV stations a ‘displacement’ that somehow will just happen during the repacking process that will be inflicted after sale of TV spectrum. After the FCC buys the spectrum of selected TV stations, the commission will then effectively ‘trash compact’ down all TV channels without considering LPTV’s existence in the television channel band,” says FAB Principal David Mallof in a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States who heads the GAO, the Honorable Gene Dodaro.
GAO General Counsel Thomas Armstrong was copied as well.
Of the 37 LPTV channels in use today as many as 21-24 may go away, according to FAB.
The commission has in-hand detailed auction modeling scenarios with predictive outcomes on TV stations.
Repeated Freedom of Information requests sent to the agency have been denied. FAB seeks data on how many channels generally will remain “vacant,” if any, for LPTVs in each market.
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton and California Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo requested and analysis of LPTV impacts, including the FCC’s standard 84MHz and 126 MHz cleared scenarios.
The group will approach the House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the issue in April.
The day before a recent House FCC oversight hearing, Chairman Wheeler replied in writing and in stated no systematic analysis has been done. Yet in answer to lawmaker queries, he pledged to work with LPTVs to find them new allocations.