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FCC Solicits Comment on Low Power Protection Act

On January 5, 2023, President Biden signed the Low Power Protection Act (LPAA) into law. The Act requires the FCC to open up a window for LPTV stations to apply for Class A status. Obtaining Class A status will protect these LPTV stations from being dislocated as a result of changes in full power station coverage areas. In effect, it gives these LPTV stations primary status similar to full power stations in spectrum coverage disputes.

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement the LPAA. While this is not a final rule, it signals where the FCC is heading with its regulations. Under the proposed rules, LPTV stations must meet the following criteria to be eligible for Class A status:

  • During the 90-day period preceding the date of enactment of the LPPA (i.e., between October 7, 2022, and January 5, 2023), the station satisfied the same requirements applicable to stations that qualified for Class A status under the CBPA, “including the requirements…with respect to locally produced programming;” (i.e., the station operated a minimum of 18 hours per day, aired an average of 3 hours per week of locally-produced programming, and was otherwise in compliance with the LPTV rules)

  • The station satisfies the requirements of 47 CFR § 73.6001(b)-(d) or any successor regulation.

  • The station demonstrates that it will not cause any interference as described in the CBPA;

  • During that same 90-day period, the station complied with the Commission’s requirements for LPTV stations; and

  • As of January 5, 2023, the station operated in a Designated Market Area with not more than 95,000 television households.

In addition, the LPPA requires that a station accorded Class A status must (1) be subject to the same license terms and renewal standards as a license for a full-power television broadcast station (except as otherwise expressly provided in the LPPA) and (2) remain in compliance with paragraph (c)(2)(B) of the statute during the term of the license.

Again, this is just a proposed Rule. Not every LPTV station will qualify for Class A status.

You can access the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here.



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Apr 23

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