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30 Nov 2009

MMTC ask FCC to halt LPTV applications

Listed under: News

MMTC asks FCC to halt LPTV applications until diversity ownership hearings end

(November 25, 2009) The Minority Media and Telecommunications has asked the FCC not to accept applications specifying channels 5 and 6 in its January 2010 filing window for low-power TV stations and TV translators, and would also like the FCC to delay processing those applications in the August 25, 2009 window.

MMTC Exec. Director David Honig notes in the letter that it’s been proposed in the FCC’s ongoing diversity hearing that the channels be used for FM broadcasting and says, “It is critical that the commission avoid accepting applications for new Channel 5 and 6 stations and delay processing the pending applications so as not to prejudice the commission’s consideration of the various proposals that have been submitted for the use of this spectrum for FM broadcasting.”

Honig points out that the MMTC filed comments in support of a proposal from the Broadcast Maximization Committee to use the channel 5 and 6 spectrum for new and displaced LPFMs, to expanding the noncommercial educational service, and for reallocating AM stations as digital-only transmissions. Indeed, he says the BMC proposal “may be the only means to save the AM stations in a digital-only world.”

He writes that “without a freeze on the filing and processing of applications for Channels 5 and 6 in the LPTV digital filing windows, the commission will preclude the proposed uses of this spectrum space and waste the remaining spectrum space that could be much better used to save the AM service, eliminate the sharing arrangement with FM and LPFM stations and respond to the large number of interested parties wanting new NCE stations.”

Honig also says that the FCC’s granting new station authorizations in the spectrum would “violate basic procedural due process requirements” when interest has been expressed in other uses for channels 5 and 6. He adds that the FCC has a “once in a generation opportunity” to solicit ideas for the spectrum and says it would be “extremely short sighted” of the FCC to process applications for the channels.